How to Write the Company Overview Section for a Business Plan
Updated: Jan 7
When you’re developing your business plan, you may find that describing your company isn’t as easy as it sounds. A quality description requires you to think very deeply about what your company is, and where you’d like it to go in the future.
You’ll need to view your company through multiple lenses, describing it in terms of its history, how it compares to your competition, who your customers are, and what they want from you.
And while it’s essential to craft a rigorous description, you don’t want to go into excessive detail. Your company description functions as an introduction to your business plan, so you want to leave the more in-depth discussions for later in the document.
Here you want to give your readers a sample of what your company is all about and what they can expect to find in your plan.
1. Answer Key Questions About Your Business
The critical, top-level questions that you need to address in your company description are:
Who are you?
What do you do?
Where are you?
To break these down further, when answering who you are, you should provide a brief history of your company and talk about why you’re in business. Focus on what you value as an organization, and what you’re currently doing to realize your vision for the company.
What you do should include information about the range of products and services you provide, who your current customers are and how you reach them, and a description of any processes that are critical to your business success.
For the last question, you’re attempting to place your company in the context of where it is in the marketplace and its evolution. It will help if you discuss your industry, your place in it, and how you differentiate yourself from your competitors. It would help if you also looked at where you are currently in the broader narrative of what you want to be in the future.
2. Start With An Elevator Pitch and Build From it With Passion
An elevator pitch is a high starting point because, in an even more compact form, it focuses on the same sort of questions you’re looking to answer in your business description. It attempts to sell your company and your vision for its future in the period it takes to ride an elevator with the person you’re pitching.
So use that as the kernel of your description. And then flesh it out with extra details. Imagine you had two minutes to pitch someone instead of 20 seconds. What other information would you add to this extended pitch that would clarify your story while keeping it exciting?
Remember that an elevator pitch attempts to ignite a fire in another person for your vision of your company, so write passionately and from your heart.
3. Review, Focus, and Make Sure It’s Catchy
This last step is critical. Review your description and then review it again. Focus on the tiny details. Trim the fat and make sure that everything you include contributes something to the narrative.
Your company description is the first thing someone reading your business plan will see. It’s your chance to excite potential investors and others. If your story is compelling, there’s an excellent chance your reader will continue through the rest of your plan. If it falls flat, you may lose people.
So make it catchy.
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