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Introduction to Business Plan Guide:
Length of a Plan

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The page length of a business plan depends very much on the purpose of the plan and the type and status of the business being planned. For discussion on different types of plans and their lengths, see the white paper on Insights into Business Planning.

Plan the Length of Your Plan

The overall length of a (very) comprehensive plan could be anything between 20 and 50 pages excluding appendices. A more basic plan might run from 5 pages up to 15 or even 20 pages.

When budgeting a length for your plan, go for the shortest possible plan consistent with your business's scale, objective of the plan etc. – go for quality rather than quantity! Between 20 and 30 pages (excluding appendices) should be adequate for most businesses. If your plan gets too long, do some ruthless editing and redrafting. If it is any consolation, it should be much easier to shorten a long plan than to lengthen a short one!

The following table suggests possible plan lengths for different situations based on this Guide's structure and that used by Free-Plan a comprehensive 150-page Business Plan Guide and Template:



Situation:

Target Number of Partial/Full Pages (excluding appendices)

Very small services startup not seeking funding or support

Smallish business seeking funding or support

Substantial startup seeking venture capital

Substantial existing business not seeking funding or support

Substantial existing business seeking external funding

A "long" summary for a substantial business

Your targets

Cover Page

 

1

1

 

1

 

 

Table of Contents

 

1

2

2

2

 

 

Basic Information

 

1

1

 

1

 

 

1. Introduction to Plan

1

1

1

1

2

1

 

2. Summary of Plan

1

1

2

2

3

 

 

3. Strategic Overview

1

1

2

2

2

1

 

4. Present Status

1

1

2

3

4

1

 

5. Products/Services Descriptions

1

1

2

3

4

1

 

6. Profiles of Target Markets

2

2

5

5

6

1

 

7. Marketing Strategies/Sales Plans & Projections

2

2

3

4

4

1

 

8. Technology and R&D

 

?

?

?

?

?

 

9. Operational Plans

1

1

2

3

4

1

 

10. Management & Administration

1

1

2

2

3

1

 

11. Financial Projections

2

3

5

4

6

1

 

12. Funding

 

1

2

 

2

 

 

13. Implementation

1

1

2

2

3

1

 

14. Conclusion

 

1

1

1

1

 

 

Total Pages

14

20

35

34

48

10

 

Use Appendices

As no major section within your plan should exceed 6-8 pages, use Appendices to present detailed or additional information which is summarized or referenced in the body of the plan. This reduces the length of the plan. It also enhances readability and ensures that the reader does not get sucked into excessive detail.

If the appendices are very lengthy, consider binding them into a separate volume. This should make the plan appear less intimidating and creates the opportunity to circulate the plan with or without appendices. If presenting the appendices as a separate volume, be sure to include a cover page (complementing that of the main plan) and a detailed contents list (number all pages in the appendices).

For further guidance, see Planning to Plan, Preparing a Short/Basic Plan and Table of Contents.

For further discussion on different types of plans and their lengths, see the white paper on Insights into Business Planning.

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