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Business Plan - Resources

Business Plan Structure & Tools


Type  Business Plans Handbook

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Primary goal:

A business plan is an essential roadmap for business success. This living document generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues.

Needed components:

  1. Executive Summary: a snapshot of your business plan as a whole and touches on your company profile and goals
  2. Company Description: provides information on what you do, what differentiates your business from others, and the markets your business serves
  3. Market Analysis: showcases your research on your industry, market, and competitors
  4. Organization and Management: details the structure of your business and how it will be managed
  5. Service or Product Line: tells the story of how your product or service will be exactly what your customers need
  6. Marketing and Sales: outlines the marketing and sales strategy of your business
  7. Funding Request: if you are seeking funding for your business, this is the section to outline that request
  8. Financial Projections: make a plan for where you see your company in five years
  9. Appendix: if you have additional documents like permits or leases, these can be included here

Important note: 

These categories are flexible and may not cover everything for every business. Many samples will also include things like introductions to the business owners and their histories, visual components like charts and graphs, and further description of who the customers will be.

Source: Small Business Association, "Write your Business Plan":

Below are the steps to perform in order to locate business industry ratios:
1. Locate the NAICS code for the target industry: 

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

Adopted in 1997,the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.

2. Look up the industry ratios in eStatement Studies using the NAICS code: (see below)


To create a business plan, you need data and research related to your industry, the market, your competitors, and your customers. The databases and resources on our Company, Industry, and Market Guides can answer these questions. Select the guide title to access the the type of information needed.


Company Research

Industry Research

Market Research

  • Analyst Reports
  • Company Profiles
  • Competitors
  • SEC Filings
  • SWOT Analyses
  • Industry Classification
  • Industry Competition
  • Industry Profiles
  • Industry Reports
  • Ratios & Statistics
  • Trade Information
  • Advertising Expenditures
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Demographics & Target Markets
  • Market Competition
  • Market Research Databases
  • Public Opinion & Viewpoints


Industry Ratios

Includes the most widely used ratios in the financial services industry with balance sheet information, including various types of liquidity, coverage, leverage, and operating ratios.

Small Business Websites

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.