Write a different business plan for each reader

When putting together your business plan, you’ll want to take into account all of the interested parties who’ll want to read through your strategy.

When putting together your business plan, you’ll want to take into account all of the interested parties who’ll want to read through your strategy.

Tailoring your plan to interested parties

Most readers of your business plan will appreciate you keeping your plan as short as possible – even while you include the key facts they need.

Your banker

Your banker will likely be interested in seeing your entire plan to:

  • Test your assumptions.
  • Ensure you haven't overlooked anything.
  • Make sure any financial solutions they offer fit with your personal and business needs.

If you're seeking financing, your banker will likely pay special attention to your estimates for upcoming purchases, and may require your personal statement of net worth.

In addition, your banker will carefully review your financial information – and they may request audited or review engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant.

It's always a smart idea to check with your banker to confirm what information they need before presenting them with your plan.

Your accountant

Your accountant may be particularly interested in:

  • The business description section – and your goals and objectives in particular.
  • Business operations – which will give them insight into the operations behind your financial statements.
  • Financial Information.

Like your banker, your accountant will be able to serve you better if they understand both your personal and business needs.

Investors

Potential investors will want to see your entire plan, so they can make an informed decision about whether your business is the best investment for them.

When it comes to your financial information, they may request audited or review engagement financial statements prepared by an accountant.

While you may choose to withhold your personal goals and finances, consider including an appendix that includes:

  • References for your professional advisors.
  • Résumés of your team.
  • Photographs of your products or services.
  • Past advertisements and promotional materials.

Business and personal advisors

Business and personal advisors will be interested in seeing your entire plan, so they can pose questions and offer insights.

You can choose not to share personal sections of your plan – like your personal statement of net worth – with your business advisors.

To give your advisors the most complete picture possible, consider adding an appendix that includes:

  • References for your banker, lawyer, accountant or bookkeeper, marketing consultant, and insurance agent.
  • Résumés of your team.
  • Photographs of your products or services.
  • Past advertisements and promotional materials.
  • Competitors' advertisements.

Your marketing consultant

Your marketing consultant may pay special attention to your business description section, especially:

  • Your objectives and descriptions of your products or services.
  • The marketplace – which offers understanding about the environment in which your business competes.
  • Sales and marketing – where your marketing consultant may offer suggestions for refining your strategies.

Your lawyer

Your lawyer will probably be most interested in your business’s description, the marketplace, and your business operations – all of which may provide special insight into legal issues.

They may also want to see your section on financial information.

Your staff

Your existing employees might benefit from reading your entire plan, although you may choose not to share your personal goals and finances.

Prospective staff members will be able to get a much better sense of your business if you share your information on:

  • The business’s description – excluding personal goals.
  • Sales and marketing.
  • An appendix that includes résumés of your staff, past advertisements and promotional materials.
  • Photographs of your products or services.

Potential buyers

Potential buyers of your business may have their interest awoken by your business’s overview, along with the descriptions of your products or services.

As negotiations progress, you might consider sharing information on the marketplace, your sales and marketing, your business’s operations, and its financial information.

Next steps