A standard business plan consists of a single document divided into several sections, including a description of the organization, the market research, competitive analysis, sales strategies, capital and labor requirements, and financial data.
Any funder worth his or her salt wants to see it right off the bat. Moreover though, a solid business plan is a living document that will continue to guide your efforts as your business grows. A lot of those mistakes (most of them, in fact) are the result of poor planning. Bad location, a marginal niche, having no specific user in mind, raising too much or too little money--all of these issues can be prevented or at least mitigated with good planning.
Sales and Marketing Plan. A description of how you intend to entice customers to buy your product(s) or service(s), including advertising/promotion, pricing strategy, sales and distribution, and post-sales support if applicable.
Do I Need a Simple or Detailed Plan? A corporate business plan for a large organization can be hundreds of pages long, but for a small business it is best to keep the plan as short and concise as possible, especially if you intend to submit it to bankers or investors — 25-30 pages should be sufficient unless you need to include photos of products, equipment, logos, business premises or site plans, etc. Potential money-lenders or investors will be looking for solid research and analysis in your plan rather than long, wordy descriptions.