How to Develop a Departmental Business Plan

by Barbara Brown ; Updated September 26, 2017

Developing your departmental business plan requires collecting qualitative and quantitative information about how the department can improve profitability of the company. The business plan must tie directly to the mission and priorities of the company and its customers. A good organizational strategy for developing a departmental business plan is called SWOT, which stands for: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Combine the SWOT information with realistic projections of income and expenses in a concise, well-organized presentation.

Collect historical information about your department’s income and expenses along with a detailed description of your current responsibilities or commitments.

Make a list of new projects or products you believe will benefit the company by increasing revenue or decreasing operational costs. Brainstorm with key members of your department to draft a list of initiatives.

Perform a SWOT analysis for the most promising initiatives for your department. Strengths may include existing expertise, a strong customer base, a customer need or your ability to price below competitors. Weaknesses mirror the strengths of your competitors. Opportunities are the what, where and how your initiatives can be profitable. Threats are events or circumstances that work against success in operationalizing your initiatives.

Find out if your organization has an approved or expected format for departmental business plans. Identify the mission and key objectives of the organization that should be tied into your proposed activities.

Organize your departmental business plan into sections with meaningful headers that allow reviewers to find information quickly. Begin with a one-page summary of the high points of the plan and include a bullet list of proposed initiatives. Follow the summary with an introduction to your department’s charter and responsibilities and a section for each initiative.

Write each section of the business plan. Look for opportunities to use graphics to present information. Many reviewers grasp information more quickly from a chart or a graph than from a paragraph of text.

Review the plan for format consistency and correct grammar and spelling. Most word processing software will check spelling and grammar; however, automated systems can make mistakes, so it is a good idea to ask someone else to serve as a second reader. Edit the business plan and finalize for distribution.


  • It is essential that your SWOT analysis is based on hard data and realistic projections. If the plan is longer than five or six pages, use a table of contents to aid navigation. Put summary data in the business plan and detailed or raw data in appendices. Using parallel formatting for each section makes it easier for reviewers to scan and compare proposals.

About the Author

Barbara Brown has been a freelance writer since 2006. She worked 10 years performing psychological testing before moving into information research. She worked as a knowledge management specialist and project manager in defense and health research. She is studying to be a master gardener and has a master's degree in psychology from Southern Methodist University.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article