Five Best Practices for Creating a Business Plan Appendix
A business plan is formed by several main sections, with the appendix tying the plan into one cohesive document as its final component. Some business plans forgo this valuable section and overlook the additional benefits it may bring during and after business plan creation.
Let’s understand the contributions and importance of appendices in business plans. After this article you will never ask yourself, how to write appendix, what is the purpose of an appendix, or a business plan appendix example. Here are all the things one needs to know in crafting and using a business plan appendix to its full potential:
What is a Business Plan Appendix?
The appendix in business plans is a supporting and final section that additionally corroborates and validates the main points of the plan. Businesses incorporate this section with legal documents, research findings, or visual representations that ensure business plan readers of the credibility and accuracy of information presented in the business plan. These are materials that enhance the value of the business plan but may not cleanly fit in with the body of the plan.
What is the Purpose of the Appendix?
If the business plan body narrates to tell a business’s story, the appendix substantiates that story by laying out evidence through data-driven information. Well-organized supporting documents in a business plan verify that a business’s strategies are practical and actionable. The business plan appendices further create clarity to the facts narrated in the business plan, allowing readers to easily read without the constant need to search for proof to confirm the presented data.
What Goes in the Appendix of a Business Plan?
The materials and documents included in the appendix may vary depending on a business’s activities. The following are some information that the appendix document includes to provide substantial support to a business plan:
- Comprehensive market research findings
- Detailed financial projections
- Customer directory
- Client or vendor contracts and agreements
- Product images or packaging samples
- Property designs, building permits, and lease documents
- Intellectual property documents and other permits and licenses
- Organizational Chart and resumes for qualifications
- Credit records
- Marketing material
- Supplementary charts, graphs, and tables to support data in the business plan
Key Points in Organizing a Business Plan Appendix
Now that we know the potential components and the importance of a business plan appendix, let’s explore some guidelines to consider when sorting an appendix for a business plan:
Streamline the Appendix: For appendices that span for multiple pages, at ten or more pages for example, it is ideal to add a separate table of contents to outline its components. The appendix table of contents guides readers on what information to expect in the section. Documents and materials in the appendix section should also be organized in the same order they are referred to in the business plan body.
Maintain Confidentiality: License applications, permits, and credit records are some of the documents that are classified as confidential information. A business should keep track of the people who have access to such information as they are shared in the business plan. Including a confidentiality statement will inform readers and remind them that content shared in the business plan should not be used, spread, or discussed without written consent from agreed parties.
Some Will Not Read the Business Plan and Focus Only in the Appendix: The appendix showcases a business’s complete financial projections and proof of legal compliance through permits and licenses. As such, interested parties may only look into a business’s profitability and ability to comply with existing standards and regulations. A comprehensive appendix in the business plan demonstrates the extent a business will put effort to ensure the viability of its success. Furthermore, all the information included in the appendix will help a business stay on track with its progress and fulfill its goals.
Design Equals Content: The presentation of the appendices is of utmost importance in the business plan. Even if good data and analysis are incorporated in the business plan, an unorganized presentation may lead to misrepresentations and negative assumptions. Adapting a solid business plan outline helps organize the appendices into a document that substantiates factual and clear information.
Keep It Short and Simple: An appendix should only include relevant information about a business to keep it concise. For example, the business plan’s financial plan should be supported with additional financial projections in the appendices. Not every little detail should be included, but the information should offer business plan readers valuable insights into the business.
The appendix serves as the last piece of the puzzle for a business plan. We’ve discussed the importance of appendix and the value it adds to a business plan. However, keep in mind that a business plan should be able to stand alone even without an appendix, as its main purpose is to answer the queries and demands of its readers. The appendix serves as a supplementary section and its absence should not create gaps within a business plan.
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Let’s face it – you can be successful whether you develop an appendices business plan or not. Get a jumpstart to your business and capture the interest of your target audience with a free business plan template. Already have a business plan? Are you unsure if it reflects your business’s long-term objectives? Connect with BSBCON today and experience the expertise of professional business plan consultants today.
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