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The Ultimate Guide to Your Business Plan Appendix

Trish

Sooner or later, you will need to design a nonprofit business plan to ensure your organization is focused on specific, attainable goals geared toward your mission. 

The plan has many main sections and the very last element is known as the "appendix." While it can sometimes be underestimated during the business plan creation process, it offers you valuable opportunities to win "bonus" points with your readers. 

This is what you need to know to squeeze the maximum power out of this key section.

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What Exactly is a Business Plan Appendix?

Your appendix is a supplementary final section of your business plan that provides additional documents and validation that your business plan is on point

It lends enhanced credibility through visuals, legal documents, and other supporting documentation, assuring your supporters that you have done your diligent research and preparation to ensure that your plan is a success. 

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Why Is the Appendix so Important in a Business Plan?

While an executive summary provides a snapshot of your overall plan, appendices use well-organized supporting documents that verify the validity of your strategy. It clarifies the information provided in the rest of the plan, making it easy to read without taking a detour for credentials and corroboration. 

For example, the main section of your plan might refer to key financial metrics like revenue estimates at year 1 and year 5. Rather than including all of the relevant details of how those projections were calculated, you can include the details in your appendix.

You may also include additional information not present in your business plan itself to further represent how your plan can establish a successful organization. 

the-ultimate-guide-to-your-business-plan-appendix-why-is-it-importantWhy is a business plan appendix so important? Sadie is wondering the same!

While not indispensable, the appendix section can definitely provide you with an opportunity to score extra points and solidify the quality of your business plan design.

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What Do Organizations Usually Include in a Business Plan Appendix?

Depending on your nonprofit type and activities, there are a wide variety of items that can prove beneficial for supporting your business plan:

  • Sales and marketing materials

  • Various financial documents or projections

  • Organizational charts, spreadsheets, graphs, or tables that complement other sections of your plan

  • Copies of the organization’s tax returns

  • Executive team member resumés

  • Credit histories for the entity and ownership

  • References from credible sources

  • Earnings projections

  • Partnership contracts, financing, and vendor agreements

  • Equipment leases, building permits, patents, copyrights, and related licenses

  • Visuals demonstrating product illustrations or product packaging

  • Copies of promotional items and advertising such as press clippings about your nonprofit and staff

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5 Simple Tips to Create an Efficient Business Plan Appendix

As well as collecting supporting documents to include in your business plan, there are other tips that can help you when it comes to putting pen to paper. Here is a brief overview to help you design a stellar appendix. 

Avoid Procrastination 

Gather your appendix materials in advance or at least during the drafting process for your business plan. They may prove useful in helping structure the plan itself and will give you a good roadmap to follow when you are ready to prepare your final section. 

Avoid waiting until your plan is complete to start gathering your resources as it will slow down your process and may affect how you want to structure the plan itself. It is always a good idea to have all your materials and a strategy in place before engaging in any activity. 

Be Aware That Your Business Plan May Never Be Read

This may be heartbreaking (and we are sorry), but all your hard work may go unnoticed. This segment of the plan is optional as it provides supplemental information. 

the-ultimate-guide-to-your-business-plan-appendix-five-tipsEmily is determined to write a fabulous business plan appendix!

However, a detailed appendix is proof that you have covered all your bases when developing your success strategies. It demonstrates that you are willing to take extra effort to ensure that your plan, and by extension your organization, will prove successful. 

If nothing else, keep in mind that while many entities require you to present your business plan to ensure that you are legitimate, the purpose of the business plan is ultimately for you. Any materials you include here can help you stay on target and fulfill your goals, even if others do not pat you on the back for going above and beyond. 

Pro Tip: The act of creating an appendix not only proves that you have done your due diligence, it may actually force you to dive deeper into the details and ultimately reshape the message that makes it into the main body of your business plan. Activities that result in a stronger main deliverable are always worth consideration.

Be Aware That Some People Will ONLY Read Your Appendix

While that may be a teensy weensy exaggeration, there is some truth to the statement. People interested in your financial data such as your earnings potential may put greater value on your appendix to provide the information they need to make a decision regarding your nonprofit. 

As this is also a place to demonstrate that you have all permits required and meet legal compliance, that can be an important factor for some and having this information prepared in advance can be the deciding factor.

Taking this extra step can also set you apart from any competitors

Pro Tip: If you share confidential documents, add a confidentiality statement. This is an efficient way to remind people that the document in question should not be distributed or discussed beyond those with acknowledged permissions. 

Add a Table of Contents for Your Business Plan Appendix

Unless your appendix is really short (which we do not recommend), you will want the reader to be able to easily locate relevant information included within the section. A great strategy is to create a separate table of contents for your appendix, just as you did for your business plan itself. 

Design your table of contents organizational structure based upon how the preceding sections are organized. Keeping them in the same order will serve as a guide to help locate information quickly, within the appendix itself and your table of contents.   

Take Care of the Design as Much as the Content

Other than for personal usage, the objective of your business plan is to show others that your strategy is sound and that you are legit. 

the-ultimate-guide-to-your-business-plan-appendix-designOliver is framing up the perfect design for his business plan appendix.

Presentation is of utmost importance. No matter how air-tight your methodology is, if it is an unattractive and complicated mess, your reader will undoubtedly make negative assumptions. Your plan should be tight, an example of how you will run your nonprofit.

Seeking out an exemplary nonprofit business plan template can help you ensure that your business plan is top-notch and scoring points for you even before your target audience has begun to read. Many of these templates will also cover the appendix, but if not, there should be other options or even specific BP appendix templates to help. 

While the primary focus should be to ensure the plan itself is attractive, organized, and easy to read, you should still spend extra time to make sure your appendix is easily accessible and functional

If you want your nonprofit to be successful, your business plan must be successful. Diagrams and visuals are great tools to help facilitate understanding and when well-designed, grant your presentation additional prestige. 

When you are finished, run through your entire document including your appendix with a fine-toothed comb, making sure that everything is logical, attractive, and useful to prove you are on top of your game. 

In addition, it would not hurt to have other trusted members take a look at it. Staff or even a professional can review your plan and offer invaluable advice, especially if they have a relative certification or a lot of expertise with business plan development.

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