Preparing a Three Year Business Plan

Writing of business plan image by Vasyl Dudenko from Fotolia.com

A three-year business plan gives a business a road map for what it needs to accomplish and includes its goals and objectives, financial summary and mission statement. The business plan can be as simple or as detailed as you prefer, but it is usually comprised of four main sections: description of the business, marketing, finances and management.

Write a description of the business, including the business’s mission statement, a three-year summary of goals and basic information, such as number of employees, location and date of incorporation. Answer the question: What is this business about? If just beginning, include your background and experience.

Write a section about the business’s marketing analysis over the next three years. This section includes information about the primary market you’re targeting and an industry description and outlook. Answer the question: What product or service is this business providing and how can we bring it to the customer?

Write a section about the business’s financial outlook over the next three years, including current financial situation, projections and goals. Include data such as income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements. Answer the question: How much money does this business need to thrive and grow?

Write a section about the business’s management, including the organizational structure, ownership information, salary and benefits for employees, incentives and the function of each employee. This section should be quite detailed because it covers legal and corporate information. Answer the question: How is this business organized and who does what?

Add a table of contents once the plan is completed, then print it out and keep it handy during the next three years. Feel free to add, revise or subtract sections as necessary. Business plans are guidelines, not rigid rules you have to follow.

Tips

  • Look at samples of business plans, either online or in books, to get a more thorough idea of what you want to include and how detailed you want to be. Tailor your business plan to your type of business.

    Don't feel as if you have to be locked into one concrete plan. Change it as needed.

References

Resources

About the Author

Meg North has written professionally since 2008 as an online copywriter for the Sturbridge Yankee Workshop. She also published a short story in "The Maine Scholar." North has a Bachelor of Arts in media writing from the University of Southern Maine.

Photo Credits

  • Writing of business plan image by Vasyl Dudenko from Fotolia.com