- Awards Season
- Big Stories
- Pop Culture
- Video Games
Simplify Shift Planning: An Introduction to Excel Staff Schedule Templates
Are you tired of spending hours every week creating and managing staff schedules? Look no further than Excel staff schedule templates. These user-friendly tools can save you time and effort while ensuring efficient shift planning for your team. In this article, we will introduce you to the benefits of using Excel staff schedule templates, walk you through the process of setting up a template, provide tips for customization, and discuss best practices for managing your staff schedules.
Benefits of Using Excel Staff Schedule Templates
Time-saving: Manual creation of staff schedules can be a time-consuming task, especially if you have a large team or complex shift patterns. Excel staff schedule templates offer pre-designed formats that allow you to easily input employee names, shifts, and other relevant information in just a few clicks.
Easy customization: One of the greatest advantages of using Excel is its flexibility. With staff schedule templates in Excel, you can easily customize your template to fit your specific needs. Whether it’s adjusting the layout, adding additional columns for notes or special requests, or incorporating color-coding for different types of shifts, the possibilities are endless.
Automatic calculations: Excel’s built-in formulas and functions enable automatic calculations such as total hours worked per day/week/month and overtime calculations based on predefined rules. This eliminates the need for manual calculations and reduces the chances of errors in your schedules.
Setting Up an Excel Staff Schedule Template
Choose a template: There are numerous pre-designed Excel staff schedule templates available online. Browse through these options and select one that aligns with your requirements in terms of layout and functionality.
Input employee information: Begin by entering the names of your employees into the designated column or row in the template. If necessary, add additional columns for employee contact details or any other information relevant to your scheduling process.
Define shift patterns: Depending on your organization’s needs, define the shift patterns on the template. This could be as simple as morning, afternoon, and night shifts or more complex patterns involving rotating shifts or split schedules.
Fill in the schedule: Once you have set up the employee information and shift patterns, start filling in the schedule by assigning employees to their respective shifts. You can easily copy and paste schedules for recurring weeks or use Excel’s autofill feature to save time.
Customizing Your Excel Staff Schedule Template
Formatting options: Excel offers a wide range of formatting options to make your staff schedule visually appealing and easy to read. Experiment with font styles, colors, borders, and cell shading to create a layout that suits your preferences.
Conditional formatting: Use conditional formatting to highlight important information such as upcoming holidays, employee birthdays, or conflicts in scheduling. This feature allows you to set rules that automatically change the appearance of cells based on specific criteria.
Adding notes and comments: If you need to communicate additional information or special instructions related to particular shifts or employees, utilize Excel’s note/comment feature. This way, all relevant details will be easily accessible within the schedule itself.
Best Practices for Managing Staff Schedules
Regular updates: Keep your staff schedules up-to-date by regularly reviewing and making necessary modifications based on changing employee availability or business requirements.
Communication is key: Share the schedule with your team well in advance and encourage open communication regarding any conflicts or shift change requests. Utilize email or collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams or Google Workspace for seamless communication.
Track attendance and performance: Use your staff schedule template as a tool for tracking attendance records and evaluating employee performance metrics such as punctuality and adherence to assigned shifts.
In conclusion, Excel staff schedule templates are invaluable tools for simplifying shift planning while ensuring accuracy and efficiency in managing your team’s schedules. By utilizing these templates effectively, customizing them according to your needs, and following best practices for schedule management, you can streamline the process and focus on other important aspects of running your business.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
MORE FROM ASK.COM
Writing a Business Plan
While it may be tempting to put off, creating a business plan is an essential part of starting your own business. Plans and proposals should be put in a clear format making it easy for potential investors to understand. Because every company has a different goal and product or service to offer, there are business plan templates readily available to help you get on the right track. Many of these templates can be adapted for any company. In general, a business plan writing guide will recommend that the following sections be incorporated into your plan.
The executive summary is the first section that business plans open with, but is often the last section to actually be written as it’s the most difficult to write. The executive summary is a summary of the overall plan that highlights the key points and gives the reader an idea of what lies ahead in the document. It should include areas such as the business opportunity, target market, marketing and sales strategy, competition, the summary of the financial plan, staff members and a summary of how the plan will be implemented. This section needs to be extremely clear, concise and engaging as you don’t want the reader to push your hard work aside.
The company description follows the executive summary and should cover all the details about the company itself. For example, if you are writing a business plan for an internet café, you would want to include the name of the company, where the café would be located, who the main team members involved are and why, how large the company is, who the target market for the internet cafe is, what type of business structure the café is, such as LLC, sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, what the internet café business mission and vision statements are, and what the business’s short-term objectives are.
Services and Products
This is the exciting part of the plan where you get to explain what new and improved services or products you are offering. On top of describing the product or service itself, include in the plan what is currently in the market in this area, what problems there are in this area and how your product is the solution. For example, in a business plan for a food truck, perhaps there are numerous other food trucks in the area, but they are all fast –food style and unhealthy so, you want to introduce fast food that serves only organic and fresh ingredients every day. This is where you can also list your price points and future products or services you anticipate.
The market analysis section will take time to write and research as a lot of effort and research need to go into it. Here is where you have the opportunity to describe what trends are showing up, what the growth rate in this sector looks like, what the current size of this industry is and who your target audience is. A cleaning business plan, for example, may include how this sector has been growing by 10% every year due to an increase in large businesses being built in the city.
Organization and Management
Marketing and sales are the part of the business plan where you explain how you will attract and retain clients. How are you reaching your target customers and what incentives do you offer that will keep them coming back? For a dry cleaner business plan, perhaps if they refer customers, they will get 10% off their next visit. In addition, you may want to explain what needs to be done in order for the business to be profitable. This is a great way of showing that you are conscious about what clear steps need to be taken to make a business successful.
Financial Projections & Appendix
The financial business plan section can be a tricky one to write as it is based on projections. Usually what is included is the short-term projection, which is a year broken down by month and should include start-up permits, equipment, and licenses that are required. This is followed by a three-year projection broken down by year and many often write a five-year projection, but this does not need to be included in the business plan.
The appendix is the last section and contains all the supporting documents and/or required material. This often includes resumes of those involved in the company, letters of reference, product pictures and credit histories. Keep in mind that your business plan is always in development and should be adjusted regularly as your business grows and changes.
- Terms of Service
- © 2023 Ask Media Group, LLC
Business Plan Introduction Example – Introduction of a Business Plan
Your business plan introduction provides a general overview, the “bird’s eye view,” of your plan. It is written at a high level without going into details. (That’s what the rest of the plan should do.) The introduction of a business plan sets the tone right after your executive summary. Here’s how to make your words count.
Table of Contents
Introduction of a Business Plan
Your business plan introduction is different than your executive summary. The introduction should contain a two or three page management overview of the business. It covers the description of the business, the goals and why the business is a good venture to start.
The other parts of a business plan , like the management team outline, the financial plan, the marketing plan, etc., are all going to provide the reader with an intense look at the business: the “ground floor view” of how the business will succeed.
Video: Secrets for Crafting a Compelling Business Plan Intro
Discover the blueprint to crafting an impactful business plan introduction. The video podcast below shows you the proven strategies for crafting intros that grab attention, outline your vision, and guide your journey. It is an essential guide to creating a powerful opening section for your business plan.
The introduction in a business plan should take all the parts of the business plan and summarize them quickly. Do this section of your business plan first, and last!
See free sample business plans on MoreBusiness.com’s Business Plan Template section.
Do it first to capture a general overview. This way, you know what you will write about in greater detail as you complete all of the other parts of the business plan.
Then, when you finish writing your business plan, do it last to make sure that you have covered all the critical points you need to convey.
Business Plan Introduction Template
Use the following questions as a template to write your business plan introduction. With this section of the plan you are trying answer a few things:
- Why this business?
- Who’s going to buy?
- How will they buy? What’s the buying and selling process look like?
- How will my business be different than the competitor’s?
- What’s my path to profitability?
- When will I become profitable?
- How much will I make and by when?
Again, you will answer these items in detail later in the full plan. The introduction of a business plan gives a general overview and excite the reader to keep them interested.
Business Plan Introduction Example
Your business plan introduction should briefly talk about what you want to accomplish in the business and how you see it working.
For example, coffee shop business plan might talk about how the market has made specialty coffee shops very popular right now. Provide data on how the location you’ve selected is perfect for a new shop.
You don’t have to give details here (that’s taken care of in the individual analysis sections that will come later). Rather, you simply provide an overview that is meant to get the reader excited.
Download a free sample marketing plan to use as a template to create your own strategy.
So a coffee business can talk about the high profit margin of coffee and how the shop will be run by a coffee expert and an expert marketer and will serve the people in the area.
A professional services or technology business plan introduction should address the unique approach you will take to secure customers because you may have a lot of competition. Perhaps you will specialize in a specific target market or demographic. Talk about your niche marketing strategy in the introduction to keep readers tuned in.
In a clothing line business plan , for example, your business plan introduction should discuss what makes your brand unique and how you will generate buzz.
Address the Big Question: Profitability
Readers of your business plan – whether you are looking for investors or money from a bank – will be able to tell very quickly whether you have done your homework and actually researched the business or whether this is just a whim.
Your investors, or even you alone if you don’t have any investors, want to make sure your business doesn’t fail . You don’t have to give all the facts in the introduction of a business plan, but you should be clear and correct in your overview.
Remember, this is the second thing your potential investor will read (the first being the business plan executive summary). They may not be as convinced about the business opportunity as you are. Ultimately, the introduction of a business plan should answer the bottom line question that the reader is asking: will this business be profitable and make money from my investment?
I need help with:
- Starting My First Business
- Learning SEO
- Generating Sales
- Writing a Marketing Plan
- Writing a Business Plan
- Leading My Team
- Free Marketing Webinars
Affiliate Disclosure : This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to purchase something using one of our links at no extra cost to you.
You Might Also Like...
MSP Search Engine Optimization: Easy 5-Step SEO Playbook
How To Go Viral on TikTok: 4 Effective Tips
A Guide to Evaluating The Trustworthiness of Web Hosting Providers
7 Compelling Reasons to Invest in Board Portals
Collaboration in the Digital Age: Online Tools Facilitating Teamwork
Ranking Higher for Bad-Credit Loan Keywords
Backlink Audit Workflow: How to Identify Spam Anchors
The Importance of WordPress Backups
SEO Coaching and Marketing Courses
Get More Business
- SEO Keyword Tool
- MSP Website Content Kit
- Done-for-You Content
- Graphic Design Tool
- Webinar Automation
- Getting Referrals
- Hubspot Marketing Automation
- Marketing Plan Example
- MSP Marketing Plan
- Life Coach Business Plan
- Consulting Business Plan
- How to Write a Business Plan
- Clothing Line Business Plan
- Restaurant Business Plan
- Personal Trainer Business Plan
- Trucking Business Plan
- Pizza Restaurant Business Plan
- Buyer Persona Examples
- How to Increase Google Rankings
- New Client Welcome Package
- How to Create a Happy Customer
- Brand Development Guide
- Types of Corporations
- SaaS Metrics Dashboard
- Salary Calculator
- Marketing and SEO Videos
- Contributing Content
- Affiliate Disclosure
Business Proposal Introduction: Everything You Need to Know
A business proposal introduction is an important part of your business plan. 3 min read
A business proposal introduction is an important part of your business plan. It gives potential investors an overview with enough information about your prospective business to, hopefully, get their interest. Without going into the full details, you can talk about the business structure and its objectives, your target market, the unique selling point, profit forecast, and when you expect to reach profitability.
Introduction of a Business Plan
The introduction to your business plan differs from the executive summary in that, without going into detail, it gives a general overview of your proposal. Coming right after your executive summary , it sets the tone of your plan.
Your introduction should consist of two or three pages outlining the business from a management perspective. It describes the business, its objectives, and why the venture is a good one to start. Along with other parts of your business proposal, such as an overview of the management team, your financial plan, and your marketing strategy , this will give the reader a close-up look at the prospective business and how it will be a success.
You should write the introduction to your proposal first, quickly summarizing all sections of the business plan. It should also be the last part of the plan you work on. The overview in the introduction will help you to know what to cover as you write all parts of the business plan in greater detail. When you have finished writing the proposal, go to the introduction again to ensure that you have covered every crucial point that you need to put across.
In the introduction, you are trying to answer a series of questions, and you can use the following as a template:
- Why is this a good business?
- Why is this a good time to start the business?
- What is the target market?
- How will they make the purchase? What is the model for the transaction process?
- How is my business going to differ from my competitor's?
- What is my route to profitability?
- How soon will my business be profitable?
- What is my profit forecast and the timescale to reach it?
Business Plan Introduction Example
Your business proposal introduction should briefly cover what you hope to achieve with your business and your vision of how it will work.
For example, the business plan for a coffee shop could discuss how market forces have currently made specialty coffee outlets extremely popular. Provide information on why your chosen location is ideal for your business. You don't need to go into the details here as that will be covered later in the individual analysis parts of your plan. Instead, you want to simply give an overview to excite the reader.
So, for the coffee shop, the introduction can say how high the profit margins are for coffee, that a coffee expert and a marketing expert will be running the business, and how it will cater to local people.
The business plan introduction for a business providing technology or professional services should cover the unique selling proposition (USP) you will use to attract customers in a competitive market. You might target a specific market or demographic.
In the introduction, discuss the marketing strategy for your niche business to keep the interest of the reader. As an example, the business plan introduction for a clothing line should talk about how your brand is unique and what you will do to generate a buzz about it.
Address the Big Question: Profitability
Those who invest in your business, or you alone where you don't have investors, will want to ensure that the business succeeds.
You don't need to provide all of the details in the introduction of your business proposal, but the overview should be clear and factual. Be aware that this is the second aspect of your plan to be read by the potential investor. They might not be quite as convinced as you are about your business opportunity.
The ultimate aim of your business proposal introduction is to answer the investor's core question: is this business going to be profitable, and will I get a return on my investment?
Help With Your Business Proposal Introduction
If you need help with putting together a business proposal, you can post your job on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top five percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.
Hire the top business lawyers and save up to 60% on legal fees
Content Approved by UpCounsel
- Business Plan and Proposal
- Business Proposal Ideas
- Comparison Between Business Proposal and Business Plan
- Creating a Business Plan
- Business Plan Format: Everything you Need to Know
- Service Business Plan
- LLC Business Plan Template
- Sample of a Good Business Plan
- Business Plan for Existing Company
- Invention Proposal Example
- Search Search Please fill out this field.
What Is a Business Plan?
Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, common elements of a business plan, how often should a business plan be updated, the bottom line, business plan: what it is, what's included, and how to write one.
Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
A business plan is a document that details a company's goals and how it intends to achieve them. Business plans can be of benefit to both startups and well-established companies. For startups, a business plan can be essential for winning over potential lenders and investors. Established businesses can find one useful for staying on track and not losing sight of their goals. This article explains what an effective business plan needs to include and how to write one.
- A business plan is a document describing a company's business activities and how it plans to achieve its goals.
- Startup companies use business plans to get off the ground and attract outside investors.
- For established companies, a business plan can help keep the executive team focused on and working toward the company's short- and long-term objectives.
- There is no single format that a business plan must follow, but there are certain key elements that most companies will want to include.
Investopedia / Ryan Oakley
Any new business should have a business plan in place prior to beginning operations. In fact, banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before they'll consider making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.
Even if a business isn't looking to raise additional money, a business plan can help it focus on its goals. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article reported that, "Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical nonplanning entrepreneurs."
Ideally, a business plan should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect any goals that have been achieved or that may have changed. An established business that has decided to move in a new direction might create an entirely new business plan for itself.
There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and highlighting any potential obstacles to success. A company might also share its business plan with trusted outsiders to get their objective feedback. In addition, a business plan can help keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and priorities.
Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they often have some of the same basic elements, as we describe below.
While it's a good idea to provide as much detail as necessary, it's also important that a business plan be concise enough to hold a reader's attention to the end.
While there are any number of templates that you can use to write a business plan, it's best to try to avoid producing a generic-looking one. Let your plan reflect the unique personality of your business.
Many business plans use some combination of the sections below, with varying levels of detail, depending on the company.
The length of a business plan can vary greatly from business to business. Regardless, it's best to fit the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and attached as appendices.
These are some of the most common elements in many business plans:
- Executive summary: This section introduces the company and includes its mission statement along with relevant information about the company's leadership, employees, operations, and locations.
- Products and services: Here, the company should describe the products and services it offers or plans to introduce. That might include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique benefits to the consumer. Other factors that could go into this section include production and manufacturing processes, any relevant patents the company may have, as well as proprietary technology . Information about research and development (R&D) can also be included here.
- Market analysis: A company needs to have a good handle on the current state of its industry and the existing competition. This section should explain where the company fits in, what types of customers it plans to target, and how easy or difficult it may be to take market share from incumbents.
- Marketing strategy: This section can describe how the company plans to attract and keep customers, including any anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. It should also describe the distribution channel or channels it will use to get its products or services to consumers.
- Financial plans and projections: Established businesses can include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses can provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making.
The best business plans aren't generic ones created from easily accessed templates. A company should aim to entice readers with a plan that demonstrates its uniqueness and potential for success.
2 Types of Business Plans
Business plans can take many forms, but they are sometimes divided into two basic categories: traditional and lean startup. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.
- Traditional business plans : These plans tend to be much longer than lean startup plans and contain considerably more detail. As a result they require more work on the part of the business, but they can also be more persuasive (and reassuring) to potential investors.
- Lean startup business plans : These use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans are short—as short as one page—and provide only the most basic detail. If a company wants to use this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or a lender requests it.
Why Do Business Plans Fail?
A business plan is not a surefire recipe for success. The plan may have been unrealistic in its assumptions and projections to begin with. Markets and the overall economy might change in ways that couldn't have been foreseen. A competitor might introduce a revolutionary new product or service. All of this calls for building some flexibility into your plan, so you can pivot to a new course if needed.
How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on the nature of the business. A well-established business might want to review its plan once a year and make changes if necessary. A new or fast-growing business in a fiercely competitive market might want to revise it more often, such as quarterly.
What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?
The lean startup business plan is an option when a company prefers to give a quick explanation of its business. For example, a brand-new company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide yet.
Sections can include: a value proposition ; the company's major activities and advantages; resources such as staff, intellectual property, and capital; a list of partnerships; customer segments; and revenue sources.
A business plan can be useful to companies of all kinds. But as a company grows and the world around it changes, so too should its business plan. So don't think of your business plan as carved in granite but as a living document designed to evolve with your business.
Harvard Business Review. " Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed ."
U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."
- Business Development: Definition, Strategies, Steps & Skills 1 of 46
- Business Ethics: Definition, Principles, Why They're Important 2 of 46
- Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One 3 of 46
- Organizational Structure for Companies With Examples and Benefits 4 of 46
- Which Type of Organization Is Best For Your Business? 5 of 46
- What Are the Major Types of Businesses in the Private Sector? 6 of 46
- Corporate Culture Definition, Characteristics, and Importance 7 of 46
- What Is an S Corp? Definition, Taxes, and How to File 8 of 46
- LLC vs. Incorporation: Which Should I Choose? 9 of 46
- Private Company: What It Is, Types, and Pros and Cons 10 of 46
- Sole Proprietorship: What It Is, Pros & Cons, and Differences From an LLC 11 of 46
- Bootstrapping Definition, Strategies, and Pros/Cons 12 of 46
- Crowdfunding: What It Is, How It Works, and Popular Websites 13 of 46
- Seed Capital: What It Is, How It Works, Example 14 of 46
- Venture Capital: What Is VC and How Does It Work? 15 of 46
- Startup Capital Definition, Types, and Risks 16 of 46
- Capital Funding: Definition, How It Works, and 2 Primary Methods 17 of 46
- Series Funding: A, B, and C 18 of 46
- Small Business Administration (SBA): Definition and What It Does 19 of 46
- Upper Management: What it is, How it Works 20 of 46
- What is the C Suite?: Meaning and Positions Defined 21 of 46
- Chief Executive Officer (CEO): What They Do vs. Other Chief Roles 22 of 46
- Operations Management: Understanding and Using It 23 of 46
- Human Resource Planning (HRP) Meaning, Process, and Examples 24 of 46
- Brand: Types of Brands and How to Create a Successful Brand Identity 25 of 46
- What Is Brand Personality? How It Works and Examples 26 of 46
- What Is Brand Management? Requirements, How It Works, and Example 27 of 46
- What Is Brand Awareness? Definition, How It Works, and Strategies 28 of 46
- Brand Loyalty: What It Is, and How to Build It 29 of 46
- Brand Extension: Definition, How It Works, Example, and Criticism 30 of 46
- What Is Social Networking? 31 of 46
- Affiliate Marketer: Definition, Examples, and How to Get Started 32 of 46
- What Is Commercialization, Plus the Product Roll-Out Process 33 of 46
- Digital Marketing Overview: Types, Challenges & Required Skills 34 of 46
- Direct Marketing: What It Is and How It Works 35 of 46
- Marketing in Business: Strategies and Types Explained 36 of 46
- What Are Marketing Campaigns? Definition, Types, and Examples 37 of 46
- How to Do Market Research, Types, and Example 38 of 46
- Micromarketing Explained: Definition, Uses, and Examples 39 of 46
- Network Marketing Meaning and How It Works 40 of 46
- Product Differentiation: What It Is, How Businesses Do It, and the 3 Main Types 41 of 46
- Target Market: Definition, Purpose, Examples, Market Segments 42 of 46
- Outside Sales: What They are, How They Work 43 of 46
- What Is a Sales Lead? How It Works and Factors Affecting Quality 44 of 46
- Indirect Sales: What it is, How it Works 45 of 46
- What Is Inside Sales? Definition, How It Works, and Advantages 46 of 46
- Terms of Service
- Editorial Policy
- Your Privacy Choices
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
- Starting a Business
- Growing a Business
- Business News
- Science & Technology
- Money & Finance
- Green Entrepreneur
- Subscribers For Subscribers
- Store Entrepreneur Store
- Spotlight Spotlight
- United States
- Asia Pacific
- Middle East
- South Africa
Copyright © 2023 Entrepreneur Media, LLC All rights reserved. Entrepreneur® and its related marks are registered trademarks of Entrepreneur Media LLC
An Introduction to Business Plans Why is a business plan so vital to the health of your business? Read the first section of our tutorial on How to Build a Business Plan to find out.
Mar 20, 2010
A business plan is a written description of your business's future. That's all there is to it--a document that desribes what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you've written a plan, or at least the germ of a plan.
Business plans can help perform a number of tasks for those who write and read them. They're used by investment-seeking entrepreneurs to convey their vision to potential investors. They may also be used by firms that are trying to attract key employees, prospect for new business, deal with suppliers or simply to understand how to manage their companies better.
So what's included in a business plan, and how do you put one together? Simply stated, a business plan conveys your business goals, the strategies you'll use to meet them, potential problems that may confront your business and ways to solve them, the organizational structure of your business (including titles and responsibilities), and finally, the amount of capital required to finance your venture and keep it going until it breaks even.
Sound impressive? It can be, if put together properly. A good business plan follows generally accepted guidelines for both form and content. There are three primary parts to a business plan:
- The first is the business concept , where you discuss the industry, your business structure, your particular product or service, and how you plan to make your business a success.
- The second is the marketplace section , in which you describe and analyze potential customers: who and where they are, what makes them buy and so on. Here, you also describe the competition and how you'll position yourself to beat it.
- Finally, the financial section contains your income and cash flow statement, balance sheet and other financial ratios, such as break-even analyses. This part may require help from your accountant and a good spreadsheet software program.
Breaking these three major sections down even further, a business plan consists of seven key components:
- Executive summary
- Business description
- Market strategies
- Competitive analysis
- Design and development plan
- Operations and management plan
- Financial factors
In addition to these sections, a business plan should also have a cover, title page and table of contents.
How Long Should Your Business Plan Be? Depending on what you're using it for, a useful business plan can be any length, from a scrawl on the back of an envelope to, in the case of an especially detailed plan describing a complex enterprise, more than 100 pages. A typical business plan runs 15 to 20 pages, but there's room for wide variation from that norm. Much will depend on the nature of your business. If you have a simple concept, you may be able to express it in very few words. On the other hand, if you're proposing a new kind of business or even a new industry, it may require quite a bit of explanation to get the message across.
The purpose of your plan also determines its length. If you want to use your plan to seek millions of dollars in seed capital to start a risky venture, you may have to do a lot of explaining and convincing. If you're just going to use your plan for internal purposes to manage an ongoing business, a much more abbreviated version should be fine.
Who Needs a Business Plan?
About the only person who doesn't need a business plan is one who's not going into business. You don't need a plan to start a hobby or to moonlight from your regular job. But anybody beginning or extending a venture that will consume significant resources of money, energy or time, and that is expected to return a profit, should take the time to draft some kind of plan.
Startups. The classic business plan writer is an entrepreneur seeking funds to help start a new venture. Many, many great companies had their starts on paper, in the form of a plan that was used to convince investors to put up the capital necessary to get them under way.
Most books on business planning seem to be aimed at these startup business owners. There's one good reason for that: As the least experienced of the potential plan writers, they're probably most appreciative of the guidance. However, it's a mistake to think that only cash-starved startups need business plans. Business owners find plans useful at all stages of their companies' existence, whether they're seeking financing or trying to figure out how to invest a surplus.
Established firms seeking help. Not all business plans are written by starry-eyed entrepreneurs. Many are written by and for companies that are long past the startup stage. WalkerGroup/Designs, for instance, was already well-established as a designer of stores for major retailers when founder Ken Walker got the idea of trademarking and licensing to apparel makers and others the symbols 01-01-00 as a sort of numeric shorthand for the approaching millennium. Before beginning the arduous and costly task of trademarking it worldwide, Walker used a business plan complete with sales forecasts to convince big retailers it would be a good idea to promise to carry the 01-01-00 goods. It helped make the new venture a winner long before the big day arrived. "As a result of the retail support up front," Walker says, "we had over 45 licensees running the gamut of product lines almost from the beginning."
These middle-stage enterprises may draft plans to help them find funding for growth just as the startups do, although the amounts they seek may be larger and the investors more willing. They may feel the need for a written plan to help manage an already rapidly growing business. Or a plan may be seen as a valuable tool to be used to convey the mission and prospects of the business to customers, suppliers or others.
Plan an Updating Checklist Here are seven reasons to think about updating your business plan. If even just one applies to you, it's time for an update.
- A new financial period is about to begin. You may update your plan annually, quarterly or even monthly if your industry is a fast-changing one.
- You need financing , or additional financing. Lenders and other financiers need an updated plan to help them make financing decisions.
- There's been a significant market change . Shifting client tastes, consolidation trends among customers and altered regulatory climates can trigger a need for plan updates.
- Your firm develops or is about to develop a new product , technology , service or skill. If your business has changed a lot since you wrote your plan the first time around, it's time for an update.
- You have had a change in management . New managers should get fresh information about your business and your goals.
- Your company has crossed a threshold, such as moving out of your home office, crossing the $1 million sales mark or employing your 100th employee .
- Your old plan doesn't seem to reflect reality any more. Maybe you did a poor job last time; maybe things have just changed faster than you expected. But if your plan seems irrelevant, redo it.
Finding the Right Plan for You
Business plans tend to have a lot of elements in common, like cash flow projections and marketing plans. And many of them share certain objectives as well, such as raising money or persuading a partner to join the firm. But business plans are not all the same any more than all businesses are.
Depending on your business and what you intend to use your plan for, you may need a very different type of business plan from another entrepreneur. Plans differ widely in their length, their appearance, the detail of their contents, and the varying emphases they place on different aspects of the business.
The reason that plan selection is so important is that it has a powerful effect on the overall impact of your plan. You want your plan to present you and your business in the best, most accurate light. That's true no matter what you intend to use your plan for, whether it's destined for presentation at a venture capital conference, or will never leave your own office or be seen outside internal strategy sessions.
When you select clothing for an important occasion, odds are you try to pick items that will play up your best features. Think about your plan the same way. You want to reveal any positives that your business may have and make sure they receive due consideration.
Types of Plans Business plans can be divided roughly into four separate types. There are very short plans, or miniplans. There are working plans, presentation plans and even electronic plans. They require very different amounts of labor and not always with proportionately different results. That is to say, a more elaborate plan is not guaranteed to be superior to an abbreviated one, depending on what you want to use it for.
- The Miniplan. A miniplan may consist of one to 10 pages and should include at least cursory attention to such key matters as business concept, financing needs, marketing plan and financial statements, especially cash flow, income projection and balance sheet. It's a great way to quickly test a business concept or measure the interest of a potential partner or minor investor. It can also serve as a valuable prelude to a full-length plan later on.
Be careful about misusing a miniplan. It's not intended to substitute for a full-length plan. If you send a miniplan to an investor who's looking for a comprehensive one, you're only going to look foolish.
- The Working Plan. A working plan is a tool to be used to operate your business. It has to be long on detail but may be short on presentation. As with a miniplan, you can probably afford a somewhat higher degree of candor and informality when preparing a working plan.
A plan intended strictly for internal use may also omit some elements that would be important in one aimed at someone outside the firm. You probably don't need to include an appendix with resumes of key executives, for example. Nor would a working plan especially benefit from, say, product photos.
Fit and finish are liable to be quite different in a working plan. It's not essential that a working plan be printed on high-quality paper and enclosed in a fancy binder. An old three-ring binder with "Plan" scrawled across it with a felt-tip marker will serve quite well.
Internal consistency of facts and figures is just as crucial with a working plan as with one aimed at outsiders. You don't have to be as careful, however, about such things as typos in the text, perfectly conforming to business style, being consistent with date formats and so on. This document is like an old pair of khakis you wear into the office on Saturdays or that one ancient delivery truck that never seems to break down. It's there to be used, not admired.
- The Presentation Plan. If you take a working plan, with its low stress on cosmetics and impression, and twist the knob to boost the amount of attention paid to its looks, you'll wind up with a presentation plan. This plan is suitable for showing to bankers, investors and others outside the company.
Almost all the information in a presentation plan is going to be the same as your working plan, although it may be styled somewhat differently. For instance, you should use standard business vocabulary, omitting the informal jargon, slang and shorthand that's so useful in the workplace and is appropriate in a working plan. Remember, these readers won't be familiar with your operation. Unlike the working plan, this plan isn't being used as a reminder but as an introduction.
You'll also have to include some added elements. Among investors' requirements for due diligence is information on all competitive threats and risks. Even if you consider some of only peripheral significance, you need to address these concerns by providing the information.
The big difference between the presentation and working plans is in the details of appearance and polish. A working plan may be run off on the office printer and stapled together at one corner. A presentation plan should be printed by a high-quality printer, probably using color. It must be bound expertly into a booklet that is durable and easy to read. It should include graphics such as charts, graphs, tables and illustrations.
It's essential that a presentation plan be accurate and internally consistent. A mistake here could be construed as a misrepresentation by an unsympathetic outsider. At best, it will make you look less than careful. If the plan's summary describes a need for $40,000 in financing, but the cash flow projection shows $50,000 in financing coming in during the first year, you might think, "Oops! Forgot to update that summary to show the new numbers." The investor you're asking to pony up the cash, however, is unlikely to be so charitable.
- The Electronic Plan. The majority of business plans are composed on a computer of some kind, then printed out and presented in hard copy. But more and more business information that once was transferred between parties only on paper is now sent electronically. So you may find it appropriate to have an electronic version of your plan available. An electronic plan can be handy for presentations to a group using a computer-driven overhead projector, for example, or for satisfying the demands of a discriminating investor who wants to be able to delve deeply into the underpinnings of complex spreadsheets.
Source: The Small Business Encyclopedia , Business Plans Made Easy , Start Your Own Business and Entrepreneur magazine .
Continue on to the next section of our Business Plan How-To >> Plan Your Plan
Editor's Pick Red Arrow
- Lock A Simple, Leisure-Focused Side Hustle Earns This Couple a Lucrative Extra Income Stream : 'Our First Year We Made $84,000.'
- Thanksgiving Is One of Few Paid Holidays U.S. Workers Have Off. They're Not Grateful for Stingy Vacation Policies — and the Breaking Point Is Near .
- Lock How I Trained My Intuition to Make Decisions Quickly — and Raised $70 Million
- Is Your Relentless Pursuit of Efficiency Actually Hurting Your Business? Here's How to Tell When You're Taking Productivity Too Far.
- Lock Here's Why You Should Drink Coffee Before You Nap
- He Grew Up in a McDonald's Dynasty Then Swapped Big Macs for Lash Extensions . Here's How He's Bringing the 'McDonald's Framework' to the $1.6 Billion Lash Industry.
Related Topics Red Arrow
Most popular red arrow, how i trained my intuition to make decisions quickly — and raised $70 million.
"It was a powerful forum for me to discover my potential," Andrew Blackmon says.
A Laptop for Less — This Chromebook Is Just $80 for Black Friday
Say hello to productivity on a budget.
Add ChatGPT to Your WordPress for Just $40 This Black Friday
Easily integrate ChatGPT to the front, back, or both ends of your website.
55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2023
We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2023.
Explore the Outdoors in Comfort with a $99 Discount on CARSULE
This is a Black Friday exclusive price, available for a limited time.
Wikipedia Founder Says X Is 'Overrun By Trolls and Lunatics' — and Reveals How He Responded When Elon Musk Asked Him a Disturbing Question
The feud between Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and billionaire X owner Elon Musk continues.
Successfully copied link
Chapter 8: Entrepreneurship
Create your business plan.
- List the components of a business plan
- Briefly describe the components of a business plan
The following written guide will help you create a business plan and map out how you will start and run your business successfully. The different parts are described in the order in which they appear in a business plan.
The executive summary is often considered the most important section of a business plan. This section briefly tells your reader where your company is, where you want to take it, and why your business idea will be successful. If you are seeking financing, the executive summary is also your first opportunity to grab a potential investor’s interest.
The executive summary should highlight the strengths of your overall plan and therefore be the last section you write.
Below are several key points that your executive summary should include based on the stage of your business.
If You Are an Established Business
If you are an established business, be sure to include the following information:
- The mission statement : This explains what your business is all about. It should be between several sentences and a paragraph.
- Company information : Include a short statement that covers when your business was formed, the names of the founders and their roles, your number of employees, and your business location(s).
- Growth highlights : Include examples of company growth, such as financial or market highlights (for example, “XYZ Firm increased profit margins and market share year-over-year since its foundation). Graphs and charts can be helpful in this section.
- Your products/services : Briefly describe the products or services you provide.
- Financial information : If you are seeking financing, include any information about your current bank and investors.
- Summarize future plans : Explain where you would like to take your business.
With the exception of the mission statement, all of the information in the executive summary should be covered in a concise fashion and kept to one page. The executive summary is the first part of your business plan many people will see, so each word should count.
If You Are a Start-up or New Business
If you are just starting a business, you won’t have as much information as an established company. Instead, focus on your experience and background as well as the decisions that led you to start this particular enterprise.
Demonstrate that you have done thorough market analysis. Convince the reader that you can succeed in your target market; then address your future plans.
This section of your business plan provides a high-level overview of the different elements of your business. The goal is to help readers and potential investors quickly understand the goal of your business and its unique proposition.
What to Include in Your Company Description
- Describe the nature of your business and list the marketplace needs that you are trying to satisfy.
- Explain how your products and services meet these needs.
- List the specific consumers, organizations, or businesses that your company serves or will serve.
- Explain the competitive advantages that you believe will make your business a success such as your location, expert personnel, efficient operations, or ability to bring value to your customers.
The market analysis section of your business plan should illustrate your industry and market knowledge as well as any of your research findings and conclusions.
What to Include in Your Market Analysis
- Industry description and outlook : Describe your industry, including its current size and historic growth rate as well as other trends and characteristics (e.g., life cycle stage, projected growth rate). Next, list the major customer groups within your industry.
- Information about your target market : One of the first steps in the process is determining your target market and why they would want to buy from you. Narrow your target market to a manageable size. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to appeal to too many target markets. Research and include the following information about your market:
- Distinguishing characteristics : What are the critical needs of your potential customers? Are those needs being met? What are the demographics of the group and where are they located? Are there any seasonal or cyclical purchasing trends that may impact your business?
- Size of the primary target market : In addition to the size of your market, what data can you include about the annual purchases your market makes in your industry? What is the forecasted market growth for this group?
- How much market share can you gain? : What is the market share percentage and number of customers you expect to obtain in a defined geographic area? Explain the logic behind your calculation.
- Pricing and gross margin targets : Define your pricing structure, gross margin levels, and any discount that you plan to use.
- Competitive analysis : Ask which areas are being ignored by your competitors. Creating a niche for your business is essential. Your competitive analysis should identify your competition by product line or service and market segment. Assess the characteristics of the competitive landscape (e.g., market share, strengths and weaknesses, barriers to market entry, etc.). Don’t Become a jack-of-all-trades. Learn to strategize.
- Regulatory restrictions : Include any customer or governmental regulatory requirements affecting your business, and how you’ll comply.
Once you’ve completed this section, you can move on to the Organization and Management section of your business plan.
Organization and Management
This section should include your company’s organizational structure, details about the ownership of your company, profiles of your management team, and the qualifications of your board of directors.
Who does what in your business? What is their background and why are you bringing them into the business as board members or employees? What are they responsible for? The people reading your business plan want to know who’s in charge, so tell them. Give a detailed description of each division or department and its function.
Service or Product Line
Once you’ve completed the Organizational and Management section of your plan, the next part of your business plan is where you describe your service or product, emphasizing the benefits to potential and current customers. Focus on why your particular product will fill a need for your target customers.
What to Include in Your Service or Product Line Section
- A description of your product/service : Include information about the specific benefits of your product or service – from your customers’ perspective. You should also talk about your product or service’s ability to meet consumer needs, any advantages your product has over that of the competition, and the current development stage your product is in (e.g., idea, prototype).
- Details about your product’s life cycle : Be sure to include information about where your product or service is in its life cycle, as well as any factors that may influence its cycle in the future.
- Intellectual property : If you have any existing, pending, or any anticipated copyright or patent filings, list them here. Also disclose whether any key aspects of a product may be classified as trade secrets. Last, include any information pertaining to existing legal agreements, such as nondisclosure or non-compete agreements.
- Research and development (R&D) activities : Outline any R&D activities that you are involved in or are planning. What results of future R&D activities do you expect? Be sure to analyze the R&D efforts of not only your own business, but also of others in your industry.
Marketing and Sales
Once you’ve completed the Service or Product Line section of your plan, the next part of your business plan should focus on your marketing and sales management strategy for your business.
Marketing is the process of creating customers, and customers are the lifeblood of your business. In this section, the first thing you want to do is define your marketing strategy. You’ll learn more about this in the Marketing chapter of this course.
After you have developed a comprehensive marketing strategy, you can then define your sales strategy. This covers how you plan to actually sell your product. Sales is also covered later in the course.
Next, if you are seeking financing for your business, you’ll need to complete the next part of your plan—Funding Request.
If you are seeking funding for your business venture, use this section to outline your requirements, including the following:
- Your current funding requirement
- Any future funding requirements during the next five years
- How you intend to use the funds you receive: Is the funding request for capital expenditures? Working capital? Debt retirement? Acquisitions? Whatever it is, be sure to list it in this section.
- Any strategic financial situational plans for the future, such as: a buyout, being acquired, debt repayment plan, or selling your business.
When you are outlining your funding requirements, include the amount you want now and the amount you want in the future. Also include the time period that each request will cover, the type of funding you would like to have (e.g., equity, debt), and the terms that you would like to have applied.
Once you have completed your funding request, move on to the next part of your plan—Financial Projections.
You should develop the Financial Projections section after you’ve analyzed the market and set clear objectives. That’s when you can allocate resources efficiently. The following is a list of the critical financial statements to include in your business plan packet.
Historical Financial Data
If you own an established business, you will be requested to supply historical data related to your company’s performance. Most creditors request data for the last three to five years, depending on the length of time you have been in business. Typical financial data to include are your company’s income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for each year you have been in business. Often, creditors are also interested in any collateral that you may have that could be used to ensure your loan, regardless of the stage of your business.
Prospective Financial Data
All businesses, whether start-up or growing, will be required to supply prospective financial data. Most of the time, creditors will want to see what you expect your company to be able to do within the next five years. Each year’s documents should include forecasted income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and capital expenditure budgets.
Make sure that your projections match your funding requests; creditors will be on the lookout for inconsistencies.
Lastly, you may want to include an Appendix to your plan.
The Appendix should be provided to readers on an as-needed basis and should not be included with the main body of your business plan. Specific individuals (such as creditors) may want access to this information to make lending decisions. The appendix can include items such as your credit history, résumés, letters of reference, and any additional information that a lender may request.Therefore, it is important to have the appendix within easy reach.
Any copies of your business plan should be controlled; keep a distribution record. This will allow you to update and maintain your business plan on an as-needed basis.
Check Your Understanding
Answer the question(s) below to see how well you understand the topics covered above. This short quiz does not count toward your grade in the class, and you can retake it an unlimited number of times.
Use this quiz to check your understanding and decide whether to (1) study the previous section further or (2) move on to the next section.
- Revision and adaptation. Authored by : Linda Williams and Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
- Check Your Understanding. Authored by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
- What I Do at Work. Authored by : The Scott. Located at : https://www.flickr.com/photos/thescott365/3183484673/ . License : CC BY-NC: Attribution-NonCommercial
- Create Your Business Plan. Provided by : U.S. Small Business Association. Located at : https://www.sba.gov/writing-business-plan . License : Public Domain: No Known Copyright
- Credit cards
- View all credit cards
- Banking guide
- Loans guide
- Insurance guide
- Personal finance
- View all personal finance
- Investing + Retirement
- Small business
- View all small business
You’re our first priority. Every time.
We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward — and free.
So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. Here is a list of our partners .
How to Write a Company Overview for a Business Plan
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .
When you start a company, you ideally want it to grow. If you’re seeking business funding to scale your business or an initial investment to get your business off the ground, you’re going to need a business plan . Putting together a business plan can be an intimidating process that involves a lot of steps and writing — but breaking it down piece by piece can help you accomplish this seemingly insurmountable task.
One small piece of your business plan is the company overview, so let’s take a look at what that is, exactly, check out some company overview examples and go over how to make a company overview of your very own.
What is a company overview?
A company overview provides the reader of your business plan with basic background information about your company so they have an understanding of what you do, who the management team is and what customers your business serves.
The company description is the second piece of a business plan, falling right after the executive summary. Similar to the executive summary, your company overview will be short and succinct. Your reader needs to have a grasp on what your business does and who your customers are, even if they have limited time.
Why do I need a company overview?
The company overview is the part of your business plan that gives the basics and background of your business. It’s the foundation on which you will build the rest of your business plan.
If you’re looking to appeal to investors or potential clients, you need a reader to make an informed decision about your company. Before they can do that, they must know what your company does and who your customer is. Lenders in particular need a reason to keep reading, since they see tons of business plans regularly. The company overview provides those answers, and it will help you get a better sense of your business so you can firm up things like your marketing plan.
What should i include in a company overview.
The exact elements that you need in your company overview will depend upon what details of your business are important, but there are some foundational elements that will be included in every company overview.
Once you’ve covered the basics, you can include any other minor details that will benefit a reader who will need to make an informed decision about your business.
Basic company information
Consider the company overview like an introduction for your business. In the opening paragraph of your company overview, you’ll want to include basic company information. That includes:
Your company name: This should be the official name of your business, exactly as it is written when you registered your business with the state.
Business structure: Your reader will want to know what business entity your company comes in: sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership or corporation.
Location(s): Share where your business is headquartered and other locations the business owns.
Ownership and management team
Break down who owns your business and how each owner is involved with the business. What shares of the company belong to whom? If you have a highly involved management team, share their names and key roles with the company as well.
Part of what makes your company unique is its history. And, even startups have some history. Don’t put too much focus on this section, but do add some personality and interesting details if possible, especially if they relate to your company culture.
Your company’s mission statement should be included in the company overview. If you don’t yet have a company mission statement, that’s okay. Think of a mission statement as the purpose of your company.
If you don’t have one, you can create one with your team. Or you can simply replace the mission statement with a problem statement. Your business idea should exist to solve a problem or pain point faced by your customers. Share what that problem is and what your business does to solve it. That’s essentially your mission statement.
Product/service and customer
This section of the company overview is where you can share the nitty-gritty details of your business. Talk about what product or service you provide and to whom you provide it. You can share some numbers here, but in general, save the numbers for later in your business plan.
The company overview should give the reader a general understanding of your business, your product or service, and your customer. If they’re interested to know more, they’ll reach out to you for a meeting or take the time to read the rest of your business plan. Keep it simple and straightforward here.
While concrete details and facts about your business are important to whoever is reading your company overview, it’s also important to share your dreams and your vision. If you’re writing a business plan for a business that’s already in place, it’s very likely you’re looking for business financing to scale or solve a business problem. If you’re just starting out, though, then it’s likely you’re hoping to find startup funding.
The section on your future business goals should include a brief description of your growth goals for your business. Where you are now tells the reader a lot, but they also want to know where you plan to go.
A company overview is comprised of many small parts. Each part shares just a little bit more about your company with your reader.
Tips for writing a company overview
While a company overview is simply the details of your company written out, it might not be easy to write. Break it down into small steps and use these tips to make putting together your company overview just a little bit easier.
Start with the elevator pitch
If your business is already in operation, then you likely have an elevator pitch. Your company overview can start off with your elevator pitch.
The first paragraph of your company overview should include just a few sentences that explain your business and what you do. The shorter and clearer this is, the more likely your reader will understand and keep reading.
Stick to the basics
It’s tempting to pile on all the details when you’re writing a company overview. Remember, many of the details of your company, including the numbers, will be included in later sections of your business plan.
Your company overview should include only the most basic details about your company that the reader needs to know.
When you share the history, mission statement, and vision for the future of your company, it’s okay to show your passion. You wouldn’t be in business if you didn’t love what you do.
Your excitement for your business could spark interest for the reader and keep them engaged with your company overview and business plan.
Keep it succinct
When you’re passionate about something, it’s easy to get carried away. Remember that you’ve got plenty of space for details in your business plan. The company overview should be just the most basic information someone needs to understand your business.
It’s OK if your first draft of your company overview is long. Simply go through and edit it to be shorter, removing unnecessary details and words each time you read through it. Clear, concise descriptions are more likely to be read and to keep the reader reading to other sections of your business plan.
Your company overview is just one piece of a multi-tiered business plan. Creating a clear structure for your business plan makes it easier to read. The same is true for your company overview.
Your business plan should have chapters, one of which is the company overview. Then, you can further break down the content for easy skimming and reading by adding sub-chapters. You can denote these breaks in content with bold headers.
While you can break down each section of the company overview with bold headers based on the above suggestions, you can also interweave some information together, such as the company structure and leadership structure. Each section should be only a few sentences long.
Write it later
If you’re struggling to write your company overview, come back to it. Write the rest of your business plan first and then write your company overview.
While this might seem like the opposite way of doing things, knowing what will be contained in the rest of your business plan can help you to focus in on the very most essential details in the company overview and to leave everything else out.
Get a test reader
If you’re struggling to edit down your company overview, get a test reader. Ideally, you’ll want to ask someone who doesn’t know a lot about your business. They’ll help you understand whether or not you’ve clearly communicated your message.
Proofreading is the final step in editing something you’ve written. This type of editing looks for typos, misspellings and grammatical errors that have been missed. Many of these small errors can be difficult to spot in our own writing, so be sure to ask someone who hasn’t seen multiple drafts of your company overview.
Company overview examples
If you don’t want to shell out for business planning software, but would still like some company overview examples to get you started, there are many places online you can look to for help getting started, like the Small Business Administration and SCORE.
Many successful companies also have some version of their company overview made public as their company profile page online. There are some variations from the company overview steps we’ve listed above, of course, but you can use the language and style of these company overview examples for inspiration:
Starbucks company profile .
Puma company page .
TaskRabbit About page .
Peloton company page .
Nestlé About page .
If you’re still feeling stuck, or want more company overview examples, try searching the websites of your favorite companies for more information. You might be surprised what you find — the Nestlé page, for example, has more information about their strategy and business principles.
On a similar note...