A business plan is a roadmap of your company's future.
It gives investors, team members, and other stakeholders a clear sense of the company's current scope and offers an informed glimpse into its future prospects. Without a well-written business plan, your company is going nowhere fast.
The best business plans adhere to a common framework and contain certain prerequisite elements, not the least of which is the company overview (also known as the company description.) Unlike the executive summary, the company overview gives the reader comprehensive insights about how your company really functions.
The Purpose of the Business Plan Company Overview
The company overview helps readers understand how your business functions. Although it should address the history of the company, its primary purpose is to describe why the business exists and how it accomplishes its stated purpose. By the time the reader has finished reading the company overview section, she should thoroughly understand how your business operates, your key strengths, and where you are headed in the future.
Key Elements of the Company Overview
Many company overviews begin by describing the legal nature of the business, ownership structure, and asset holdings. After these preliminary items have been addressed, a well-designed business overview includes coverage of the company mission statement, goals & objectives, core competencies, company history, and other information necessary to paint an accurate picture of how the business will achieve its mission over the next five years.
Other Considerations for Business Plan Company Overviews
Other things to consider when writing a company overview for a business plan include the following:
- In addition to describing your company, your company overview should talk about your industry and the company's standing in the competitive marketplace. Readers can't truly understand your company until they can appreciate the market forces that motivate its strategic decision-making.
- Like the rest of your business plan, the goals and objectives described in the company overview should be optimistic, but rooted in reality. If your company overview can't be supported by objective data, it's worthless to both investors and internal stakeholders.
- Although details are important in the company overview, it's possible to include too many details. If the information doesn't help the reader understand your company, it's probably best to exclude it from your business plan altogether.