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What are Supporting Documents in a Business Plan?

A business plan is critical to the growth and overall success of a company. These plans tend to provide a business with a blueprint for the future and a clear strategy on how to expand. Note that the primary aim of any business plan is to present a vivid overview of the business idea.

And while you may be tempted to add every detail in your plan, note that this would genuinely impede communication and make it more challenging for your reader to understand your business concept, especially since too much information can be distracting and tiring.

Note that you will have to present all necessary information in this section in the sequence mentioned in your business plan.

As you write your plan, consider referring to the document by number or letter, such as Appendix, Item 1; or Appendix, Item B. For instance, if you are noting your management team, do not include the details of your manager’s background in the body of the business plan. Instead, affix the manager’s résumé in the appendix.

Also, try not to include information that you haven’t referenced in any other section of your plan in this section. The appendix isn’t a filler section.

It is a supporting section, expected to contain vital information necessary for your business idea and crucial in supplementing previously noted information.  Have in mind that there is no limit to what you can include in this section.

If your supporting document or appendix section is large, then inculcate a content list at the beginning to ensure that readers can locate the document quickly. There are certain documents that investors may want to see in your business plan, but this will most definitely vary based on the purpose of your business plan.

13 Supporting Documents to Add to a Business Plan

  1. Detailed Financial Projections

If the purpose of your business plan is to raise capital or loan applications, then you will need more detailed projections, including monthly, quarterly, and/or annual cash flow statements, balance sheets, and income statements.

  1. Customer Lists

Have it in mind that this can be helpful for businesses looking to expand their market presence and reach new customers or clients, as well as those who are looking to invest capital into your business.

  1. Company History and Background

Business plans for major businesses will need to include the company history section so that you can make available additional information about your competitors or other companies that are relevant to your business plan. Businesses planning on leveraging their business plan as an internal document can provide less detail here.

  1. Customer Testimonials

Note that testimonials from your current customers are a wonderful way to help other investors and lenders feel more confident in investing or loaning money to your business. You can include supporting documents like online reviews, letters, personal email communications, etc.

  1. Legal Documents

If you’re getting into a partnership, you should consider attaching a copy of your partnership agreement. This appendix might also include contracts, lease agreements, or any other relevant legal documentation.

  1. Intellectual Property Documentation

This will have to be included in your business plan if you have any patents or trademarks registered and might also be helpful if you are leveraging any technologies that other businesses have patented.

  1. Resumes of Key Officers

This is a concise inventory of your personal experiences, your educational background, and any personal information that adds credibility to you as manager or owner of the proposed business. This document should be used to highlight your strengths and show how your work experience increases your chances of success.

  1. Leases & Customer Contracts

Businesses are expected to comply with all leases and customer contracts before seeking investors. You may include rental agreements, copies of key agreements, sample customer contracts, etc.

  1. Letters of Support, Reference, or Credibility

When you are starting a new business or even looking for financing, you should add a list of references or a few reference letters to your business plan to add strength to your case. However, make sure every one of the letters is up-to-date and that those providing the letters are aware of what you intend to do with them.

  1. Certificates and Accreditation

You can also make available any certificates and accreditations that will build your credibility as the owner and manager of your proposed business. When doing this, try not to overdo it, just include the certificates most relevant to the business you’re planning.

  1. Individual & Business Credit History

If you don’t have any valid experience with business credit or borrowing, you should consider adding a short explanation of your current and past financing, including your tax returns and incorporation papers. This is without a doubt very helpful especially if you intend to apply for a loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA).

  1. Quotes or Estimates from Builders, Contractors, Etc.

Businesses that are eager to build or expand their operations will need to include building plans, architectural drawings, permits, quotes, estimates, etc.

  1. Marketing Materials & Plan

Attaching the complete Marketing Plan in the appendix section helps your reader understand if you have thoroughly analyzed your target audience, where you should target your marketing efforts, and how you intend to advertise to them to expand awareness of your brand.

Just as was noted above, there is no limit to what you may include as supporting documents in your business plan. While these documents will vary depending on the aim of your business plan, ensure you list them in a separate table of contents and check the order of the table against the order they are noted in the appendix.