Jon Sutton

Executive Director, Empowering Students

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How long is an ideal business plan?

I run a non-profit called Empowering Students. We have two goals:

*Provide students the resources to get involved with service
*Motivate them to do the above

Right now, we're a rather small team of 5, with a Board of Directors of 5 more and a handful of volunteers. Our original business plan was written the night I conceived the NFP -- ergo, two pages. I redid it over the past week and it comes out to around twenty two pages. I looked online at several resourced and 22 pages is well within reasonable limits. I will probably prune it down to 20 to remove some drivel and/or repeated comments, and keep in mind that there is a cover page and a table of contents, so really 18 pages of solid information. Is that too long?

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    Apr 11 2012: Thanks, Zdenek. That's what I was thinking too. I had gotten some feedback from an advisor that it was too long and that 10-12 was the ideal length. I thought I covered what I needed to and did so in a fairly concise way, thus my length was appropriate.
  • Apr 11 2012: Rather than asking how many pages your business plan has I think it is more important to ensure that you cover well all areas that both investors and your team can depend on (markets, competition, competitive advantage, sales/marketing strategy, future growth etc.).

    However too many pages shows you are not focused and less people will read it. 18 pages seems to be reasonable.
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    Apr 11 2012: Definitely three to five years max. That doesn't seem like too many pages, but I'm just an outside opinion. =)
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    Apr 11 2012: I've planned out action plans for 6 months, 1 year and 2 years.
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    Apr 10 2012: Five years.
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      Apr 11 2012: Five years is reasonable. Most endeavors fail to show a return on investment (financial or otherwise) in two years.