What is in a Business Plan? The Key Sections

A business plan’s contents are no secret. Many books, articles, and courses describe the major sections of a business plan. Although variations exist, there are key sections common to most outlines in business planning literature.

Executive Summary

An executive summary, generally one page to a few pages at most, covers all of the main points of the business plan to come.

Company Overview or Description

The next section begins with an overview of the current situation of the company. This covers who the founders are and why they started the company, what the products or services offered are or will be, and what steps have been taken toward the launch to date.

Market Analysis

Sections detailing research and analysis done on the market for the business come next. This should begin with an overview of the market or industry, including its size, breakup, and trends it is experiencing going forward. Data on the specific customer segments and competitors for the new business follow.

Marketing Plan

A marketing plan then covers what is generally called the 4 Ps of Marketing: Product (description of the products or services offered), Promotion (the promotional tactics to be used), Pricing (the pricing strategy for the business), and Place (the location for a retail facility or other means of distribution for the product or service).

Operations and Management Plans

The next section or sections detail the plan for how the company will operate and be managed. This must include details on who the managers are and their qualifications, whether they are partners or hired employees.

Financial Plan

The business plan continues with a description of the financial results the business intends to see, and the underlying cost and revenue assumptions. The financial section also details the amount of capital needed, what the funding will be used for, and the sources of funding that are being sought.


Finally, a business plan concludes with appendices of documents which support the plan further. The appendices include full pro forma financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement) as well.