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Business Plan Guide:
4. Present Status

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Use this main section to review the background to your business and summarize achievements and performance (financial, sales, technical etc.) to date.

Suggested Length & Structure:

For a start-up, this section could be covered in 1-3 pages. Allow more pages for an established business and relegate detailed material to appendices.

Note: Free-Plan, a comprehensive 150-page Business Plan Guide and Template based on this business plan guide, can be downloaded for free here.

4.1. Background

Review the history of the business (or the origins of the idea if a start-up). Introduce the original promoters/shareholders in the business and explain in broad terms how the business evolved in terms of products/services, customers/markets, funding, management, R&D etc. Consider constructing a simple, short table showing the key events in the history of the business.

4.2. Progress to Date

Explain the development of the business to its present status from operational, sales/marketing, R&D and financial perspectives.

Make use of simple, high-level tables and charts to illustrate trends. Relegate detailed material to appendices and/or use footnotes to discuss issues, events etc. in greater detail without disrupting the flow of the main text.

4.2.1. Sales & Marketing

Use simple tables to help summarize historic sales growth, customer/product segmentation, market shares, key product volumes, prices achieved etc.

Here is a simple table showing historic sales:

 
 
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Table X – Sales Analysis (20XX-20XX)

Years to end xxMonth:

20XX
($000)

20XX
($000)

20XX
($000)

20XX *
($000)

Product AA

 

 

 

 

Product BB

 

 

 

 

Product CC

 

 

 

 

Total sales

 

 

 

 

Growth rate ( per year)

N/a

 

 

 

* First six months are actuals. Estimates used for last six months.

In addition, charts can be very effective at summarizing data:

Chart xxx - Historic Sales Analysis for Four Years ($000)

Explain key marketing/sales strategies and tactics. Describe major events in relation to marketing, sales, distribution, promotion, sales management, agencies/partners and so on. Place details in appendices.

Be sure to mention the general economic climate and the performance of competitors during the review period.

Indicate the current order book in value/volume terms and/or relative to capacity, and offer a view on the immediate outlook (i.e. over the next six months) for the business and its main markets.

4.2.2. Operations & Management

Review the operations of the business in terms of activities, facilities and resources used.

Include a short discussion and high-level tables covering employment, output levels, capacity growth, utilization etc.

Describe key capital investments.

Review developments in management and systems.

Identify key managers (and directors). If profiling them, limit yourself to 2-3 lines for each and refer reader to 10. Management & Administration and/or an appendix for more details.

4.2.3. R&D

Review progress with R&D in terms of projects, resources and costs. Indicate the status of projects and expected completion dates.

A simple table along the following lines could be used to summarize the foregoing:

Project

Date Started

Projected Finish Date

% Completed

Main Resources

Expenditure to Date
($000)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mention any patents or planned patent filings.

4.2.4. Finances

For an established business, present a high-level synopsis of historical financial performance covering income statements, balance sheets etc. Again, use very simple tables or charts and present details in appendices or accompanying audited accounts. Highlight and explain key events. Face up to any major upsets and discuss them in an honest but positive manner.

In the case of a start-up, present a synopsis of the business's latest (estimated) balance sheet and identify major ongoing expenditure items and amounts (i.e. the cash burn rate).

In all cases, give information about share holdings and any options outstanding – list shareholders, dividend policies etc. Use an appendix to cover the detail.

If relevant, review the budget and year-to-date performance for current year and summarize these in simple tables. Indicate the expected out-turn for the remainder of the current year and highlight key assumptions.

4.2.5. Other Developments

If appropriate, use this subsection as a catchall to mention other major developments such as awards received, customer coups and so on.

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 Projection 
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  Forecasting  
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