Know your market. A big part of knowing whether your business will be successful is understanding your audience. Make sure your plan is clear about your target market – who will you be selling to and how many other companies are already selling similar products?
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.
Operating Plan. The operating plan outlines the physical requirements of your business, such as office, warehouse, or retail space, equipment, inventory and supply needs, labor, etc. For a one-person, home-based consulting business the operating plan will be short and simple, but for a business such as a restaurant or manufacturer that requires custom facilities, supply chains, specialized equipment, and multiple employees, the operating plan needs to be much more detailed.
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.