Sample Business Plan Outline

If you are or will be working for yourself, please attach a business plan that describes what you plan to do, how you will find customers, how much money you expect to earn and what other resources you have or need to get this business going.

If you have an existing business, include signed tax statements showing how much your business has earned over the past two years.

If you don’t have a business plan, MELF staff will be happy to help you complete a plan or refer you to helpful resources. If you need help developing your business plan, contact MELF at UCP Michigan 1.800.828.2714.

Sample Business Plan Outline

  1. Describe the business: Write a general introduction to your business that answers the following questions:
    • What is your business name?
    • What service or product will your business sell?
    • How will your business be organized? (i.e. sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation)
    • Is your business currently making sales? If no, when do you plan to start?
    • What is the mission statement of your business?The mission statement is a brief (two or three sentences) description of what services your business provides, how you provide these services, who your business serves, which may include geographical area, and a few details about the uniqueness of your business.
    • What are your long-term and short-term business goals?
  2. It is a good idea to interview both potential customers and competitors to get accurate information for this section. You will also want to visit your local library and ask the librarian if there is a business section. You can get demographic information there to help you narrow your target market and determine the best way to sell your products/services.
    • What are the features and benefits of your products/services? What is unique about them?
    • How will you (or did you) decide to set your prices?
    • Who is your target customer?Your target customer should be a very specific group of people. Other people may purchase your product or service, but this group will be your bull’s eye to which you will focus most of your marketing efforts.
    • Who are your major competitors? Describe them and assess their strengths/weaknesses?
    • What are the current trends in your market? Is your product/service reaching a new level of popularity or has it already hit its peak?If you have gathered this information from your interviews, trade magazines made for business owners specifically in your line of business are a good place to find out about the most recent trades.
    • How will you use ads, networking, phone calls, direct mailings, etc. to let your target customer know about the product/service you have to offer?
  3. Operating plan:
    • How will you produce and deliver your product/service?
    • Describe how you will keep track of your finances.
    • List the people who will be running the business. It is a good idea to include a resume.
    • Describe where the majority of the business activities will take place.
  4. Financial Projections: Complete Financial Projection worksheets and include a paragraph explaining the numbers. If you need worksheets, call the Michigan Employment Loan Fund. Don’t be discouraged if your business is not profitable to start with – it’s not unusual! By looking at your financial projections, you can also determine how long you will need to continue to live your current income and when you will be able to start paying yourself with business profits.
    • Sales Forecast
    • Income and Expense Projections (also called Profit & Loss statement) for 12 months
    • Cash Flow Projections
    • Monthly Personal Budget – remember your personal budget should be separate from your business budget