The company overview and team section of your business plan provides a brief rundown of the most important points about your company from a legal and structural perspective.
This is typically the shortest chapter of your plan. However, it’s one of the most important sections for introducing you and your business to investors. For those not intending to seek funding, it’s still worth filling out as a sort of company record that you can reference and build on moving forward.
What to include in the company overview and team section
This is not an overly detailed or complex section and what you include fully depends on how you intend to use your business plan. However, these are the most common pieces of information you should consider adding.
This is the meet and greet section of your business plan. You can think of this company description as the written version of your elevator pitch. Keep it brief, grab the reader’s attention, and expand on what you say here in the next few sections.
Explanation of legal structure
This section represents the legal elements of your business. First, you’ll want to define what type of organization your business is registered as.
Are you an LLC? A sole proprietorship? A partnership? This affects how you file your taxes, how liable you are for business debt, and the type of insurance you’ll need.
You’ll also need to outline the ownership stake in your company. Basically, you just list out who owns what percentage of your business, even if it’s just you.
This is the “Once upon a time…” of your business plan. Your company background will start out with when your business was founded and who was involved. Think of it like your abbreviated backstory.
The details in this section will vary depending on who this business plan is being presented to and what stage your company is in. However, the basics you should cover include:
- When it was founded
- Who was involved
- Major milestones up to this point
If you’re presenting this to a third party, you’ll want to be sure that you present a strong track record of success and good decision-making. If you’re a relatively young business, you likely won’t have much here, but you should at least include the when and the why.
Don’t assume that if you’re a brand-new startup you have no history. It may not be a lengthy epic, but you do have the history of who came up with the idea, how they came up with it, and how and why other people joined. This can matter to investors.
Stay flexible as you describe history. Always keep your specific business purpose and your target reader in mind. If you have a longer history, then there are likely highlights you should include, and some key points you want to make. Just never bore people with lengthy information that has no connection to business decisions.
The management team
The management team section of your business plan allows you to showcase your team and their finest attributes.
Be sure to include details about yourself and your employees. Work experience, past successes, and degrees can be referenced for each person. You want to showcase everyone in their best light.
It’s worth pulling in supporting data from your personnel forecast that’s part of your financial plan. It doesn’t have to be overly detailed and can just be a simple personnel table with reference to where the full financial exploration is located.
If you have any mentors or board members, who aren’t directly involved but you work with to define your visions and overall strategy, they’re also worth mentioning here. This can bolster your credibility through association with well-respected and experienced individuals. Similarly, if you are working with a lawyer, accountant, or some other supporting professional be sure to include them.
Professional gaps and planned hires
If you’re a startup or looking to expand, there may be team members you know you’re lacking. In that case, mention those roles, and what your plans are to fill those holes. Include which people might currently be taking on multiple responsibilities or sharing duties.
For example, if you’re looking to expand, there may be team members you know you’re lacking. Mention those roles here, what your plans are to fill those holes, and even tie them to specific milestones if possible. If you have specific people in mind for those roles, make sure to include them here even if they aren’t currently on staff.
Board of advisors description
Not every company has advisors or a board of directors. If you do, then just like with your management team and staff you should include each name and their position. Provide their background, credentials, experience, and any other information that showcases why their involvement is valuable.
Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning.
He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.