According to the Small Business Encyclopedia, found at www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/business-plan, a business plan can be defined as:
A written document describing the nature of the business, the sales and marketing strategy, and the financial background, and containing a projected profit and loss statement .
A business plan is also a road map that provides directions so a business can plan its future and helps it avoid bumps in the road. The time you spend making your business plan thorough and accurate, and keeping it up-to-date, is an investment that pays big dividends in the long term.
Your business plan should conform to generally accepted guidelines regarding form and content. Each section should include specific elements and address relevant questions that the people who read your plan will most likely ask. Generally, a business plan has the following components: Title page and Contents, Executive Summary, Description of the Business, Description of the Product or Service, Market Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Operations Management, Financial Components, Supporting Documents.