1. Lucid understanding of the objective behind business plan development
2. Customizing the content plan (skeleton) per objective
3. Adopting planning the business approach than writing a business plan
4. Knowing "How-To" and "What-If"
Hope above to be of some help. Looking for anything specific? Feel free to reach out.
At our firm, we like to incentivize our portfolio founders to put together a ton of research papers on all aspects of the business -- literally ask them to just go off the wall and write as much as they can about: product, vision, culture, market strategy, competitors, etc. etc. (think free hand writing in a journal on all aspects of your business)
Then, from there, we ask the founders to distribute the "papers" to the key members of their founding team. At that point, we ask the founding team to put together a traditional business plan, scouring through all of the unstructured content they were provided, and to structualize it... and then we ask them to send it directly to our firm.
We then ask the founders to run through the same exercise prior to seeing what their team has put together. As a firm, we then take the two and make comparisons, identify similarities, and most importantly, differences, and utilize both as the key focal points of our collaboration with the venture.
Table of contents
Statement of Purpose
Product or Service
Market Analysis and Strategy
Management & Personnel
Appendix - supporting documents
Depends on what the exact purpose is. If you are simply in the idea stage, I'd spend time really figuring out if your problem is really a perceived issue with others and if it is big enough for them to pay for it. Getting your first dollar gives you something to scale with and gives you customers to interact with to make something they'd really want to get behind.
If you are doing it for a bank loan, then most templates on Google will give what you are looking for. Here are some templates from Entrepreneur.com: http://www.entrepreneur.com/formnet/businessplantemplates.html
The most under-responded sections I've ever seen in a business plan are the first 3:
I really harp on these because if you can't articulate these incredibly well, the rest of the plan falls flat.
For example, if you don't articulate the problem your'e solving really well, then the solution to that problem (or for that matter the rest of your plan) just doesn't matter to anyone.
You can download a bazillion business plan templates, but I'd highly recommend just nailing these 3 points. Also, since most business plans simply translate to a presentation/pitch deck anyway, you're going to live and die by your ability to communicate these three beautifully.
Before launching into a detailed business plan, make sure you've considered all the key angles captured on the Lean Canvas (Ash Maurya) - http://leanstack.com/.
You might also care to check out the original business model canvas that inspired it - http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas/bmc.
Between them, you'll have at least nine of the critical aspects covered. Once you've done that you should consider whether you really need anything more than a focused slide-deck providing the next level of detail.
Ultimately you need to be clear on who is going to read your plan? and why? - then tailor it for their needs and the outcome you want.
Before you start with a business plan you need to figure out if you have a business and then if you need funding for it.
If you need funding you might need a formal business plan in order to tick a box. If this is the case I would simply make use of an app called Stratpad. It it easy to follow and will give you a pretty decent business plan at the end
If you are not looking for investors then I would simply just go through something like the Business Model Canvass to give yourself a course to follow.
Not sure what business you are in but regardless this might be an appropriate quote. "A good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week." General Paton
A rough outline for a simple business plan follows below. However, you'll want to tailor your plan to the audience. For most audiences, however, the purpose of the business plan is to convey the opportunity and how your business will solve for the customer need it represents.
Working with non-profits and small businesses, I've used the following general framework for a business plan:
1. Executive Summary-a 1-page summary of your business
2. Opportunity-what problem are you setting out to solve?
3. Products and Strategy-what are your products and strategy (how the products solve the problem stated above)?
4. Management Team-who are the decision-makers?
5. Marketing Plan-how will you tell customers about your products?
6. Operating Plan-how will you deliver on customer orders?
7. Financial Plan-how will your business create profits?