Growthink's Dave Lavinsky Reveals 11 Essential Business Plan Ingredients

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According to Dave Lavinky of Growthink, a leading business planning company, there are 11 essential ingredients for business plans that raise capital from investors.

According to Dave Lavinky, co-founder of Growthink, a leading business planning company, there are 11 essential ingredients for business plans that successfully raise capital from investors.

And Lavinsky should know. Since 1999, Growthink clients have raised more than $1 billion from investors.

“If you want to raise money from investors, you must include all 11 of these ingredients in your business plan,” Lavinsky says.

11 Critical Business Plan Ingredients

Ingredient #1. Cover Page
As Lavinsky explains, it’s important to always include your contact information, especially if you’re raising money.

Ingredient #2. Executive Summary
“You need to hook investors on the first page. Most investors are inundated with business plans. Your first page must make them want to keep reading,” Lavinsky says.

Ingredient #3. Company Overview
“In this section, you want to educate the investor about your company’s history and explain why your team is perfect to execute on the business opportunity,” Lavinsky says.

Ingredient #4. Industry Analysis
According to Lavinsky, this section should prove that there is a sizable market for your product or service.

Ingredient #5. Customer Analysis
As Lavinsky explains, “The purpose of this section is to convey the needs of your customers and show how your company’s products/services satisfy those needs. “

Ingredient #6. Competitor Analysis
“In this section, you must define the competition and then demonstrate your unique competitive advantage,” Lavinsky says.

Ingredient #7. Marketing Plan
“Don’t just describe how your company will acquire customers. You also should explain how you’ll retain customers over time,” Lavinsky explains.

Ingredient #8. Operations Plan
As Lavinsky explains, "This is where you present your action plan for achieving your company's vision."

Ingredient #9. Management Team
“Here’s where you present the action plan for executing on your company’s vision,” Lavinsky says.

Ingredient #10. Financial Plan
“This is the section many investors skip to right away. Here’s where you explain how your business will generate profits for your investors. The key is to make your assumptions aggressive but credible,” Lavinsky says.

Ingredient #11. Appendix
“Many entrepreneurs forget to include an appendix. But this is the perfect place to include additional facts and figures to support your business plan,” Lavinsky explains.

For tips about each of the 11 ingredients, read Lavinsky's article: "Business Plan Template: What To Include"

About Dave Lavinsky

Dave Lavinsky is co-founder of Growthink, and the creator of the Ultimate Business Plan Template, a simple business planning tool that tens of thousands of entrepreneurs have used to quickly and easily create effective business plans. Learn more about the Ultimate Business Plan Template at

About Growthink

Growthink helps entrepreneurs become more successful. Since 1999, Growthink has helped over 500,000 entrepreneurs to successfully start, grow and/or exit their companies. Learn more at

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