Review the definition of a marketing plan. A marketing plan will include an analysis of a companies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). A SWOT is typically conducted during the strategy stage of developing a business. It is essential to analyze the SWOT regularly to ensure the business is still current in the marketplace. The SWOT analysis becomes part of a marketing plan because the strengths of a product or business are what marketing will focus on for advertising.
|Key Elements of a Business Plan|
|Executive summary provides an overview of the total business plan. Written after the other sections are completed, it highlights significant points and, ideally, creates enough excitement to motivate the reader to continue reading.|
|Vision and mission statement concisely describe the intended strategy and business philosophy for making the vision happen. Company values can also be included in this section.|
|Company overview explains the type of company, such as manufacturing, retail, or service; provides background information on the company if it already exists; and describes the proposed form of organization – sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. This section should include company name and location, company objectives, nature and primary product or service of the business, current status (start-up, buyout, or expansion) and history (if applicable), and legal form of organization.|
|Product and/or service plan describes the product and/or service and points out any unique features, as well as explains why people will buy the product or service. This section should offer the following descriptions: product and/or service; features and benefits of the product or service that provide a competitive advantage; available legal protection – patents, copyrights, and trademarks.|
|Marketing plan shows who the firm's customers will be and what type of competition it will face; outlines the marketing strategy and specifies the firm's competitive edge; and describes the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the business. This section should offer the following descriptions: analysis of target market and profile of target customer; methods of identifying, attracting, and retaining customers; a concise description of the value proposition; selling approach, type of sales force, and distribution channels; types of marketing and sales promotions, advertising, and projected marketing budget; product and/or service pricing strategy; and credit and pricing policies.|
|Management plan identifies the key players – active investors, management team, board members, and advisors – citing the experience and competence they possess. This section should offer the following descriptions: management team, outside investors and/or directors and their qualifications, outside resource people and their qualifications, and plans for recruiting and training employees.|
|Operating plan explains the type of manufacturing or operating system to be used and describes the facilities, labor, raw materials, and product-processing requirements. This section should offer the following descriptions: operating or manufacturing methods, operating facilities (location, space, and equipment), quality-control methods, procedures to control inventory and operations, sources of supply, and purchasing procedures.|
|Financial plan specifies financial needs and contemplated sources of financing, as well as presents projections of revenues, costs, and profits. This section should offer the following descriptions: historical financial statements for the last 3–5 years or as available; pro forma financial statements for 3–5 years, including income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and cash budgets (monthly for first year and quarterly for second year); financial assumptions; breakeven analysis of profits and cash flows; and planned sources of financing.|
|Appendix of supporting documents provides materials supplementary to the plan. This section should offer the following descriptions: management team biographies; the company's values; information about the company culture (if it's unique and contributes to employee retention); and any other important data that support the information in the business plan, such as detailed competitive analysis, customer testimonials, and research summaries.|
Source: Rice University, https://openstax.org/books/introduction-business/pages/5-4-ready-set-start-your-own-business
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