There are lots of business plan formats and templates on the internet that you can download. And, whilst many can seem extremely complicated and confusing, the level of details you decide to go into is really up to you.
However, banks and other lending organizations expect a detailed business plan if you're applying for lending.
If your business plan is just for your own use, you can keep the format very simple and straightforward.
If you're working with a business coach, the key things they are looking to find out from you are a) that you clearly understand the market you’re operating in and b) you have a clear vision and goals for your business.
These are the planning documents that are usually included in a typical business plan format:
Organisational Culture Statement
Current Organisational Chart / Future Organisational Chart
Research and Development
Market Analysis including:
• Marketing SWOT Analysis
• Marketing Profile; Niche, Guarantee, Client Profile
• Marketing Mix; price, product, promotion, place
Strategic Goals for the next 5-10 years including but not limited to:
• Operational Goals
• Financial Goals
• Marketing Goals
• Human Resource Goals
• Service Delivery Goals
Strategies to achieve goals in all areas of the business.
Operational plan for the next 2 years including a condensed version of the strategic plan with goals, strategies and a detailed action plan
Marketing plan for the next 2 years including a condensed version of the strategic plan with marketing goals, niche, guarantee, strategies and a detailed action plan
Financial plan for the next 2 years including a condensed version of the strategic plan with financial goals, strategies and a detailed budget
Practical guide for the organization to be updated annually including:
Policies & Procedures in the following areas:
• Occupational Health and Safety
• Equal Opportunity
• Corporate Governance
• Legal compliance
• All operational areas of the business
Customer Service Charter
* The operational manual will also refer to other important documents used within the business ie: supplier manuals, Safety Hazzard Data Sheets, guarantees, equipment user manuals etc.
Remember: Keep it Simple! If you're not applying for funding it is still better to have something written down on paper than kept in your head, even if its really short.