Business Plan Cover Page
What to Include in Your Business Plan Cover Page
The Important Elements of a Business Plan Cover
A strong business plan cover page will include all the essential elements shown below.
- Your company name
- Slogan or business tagline (optional)
- A company logo (recommended)
- A confidentiality statement. This can be as easy as the word “CONFIDENTIAL” in all capital letters
- A copyright notice, similar to © 2023, Your Company Name, City, State
- The date and possibly a revision number, as in, “January 20, 2023. Revision 3”
- Contact Information: Your Name, phone number, email address and mailing address. Try to use a professional email address that reflects your new business, as in “email@example.com”
- A company’s mailing address is optional at best. In the post-covid, digital world, it is not essential.
A slogan or business tagline is optional but should be included if your business is in an industry that is considered timely or hot. Similarly, if you’ll be sending your business plan to an investor or bank that is known for working with businesses of your type, let them know through a tagline or slogan that you are in that space.
If you don’t currently have a slogan, use something purely descriptive, such as “A social networking web business.” The tagline you use on your business plan does not have to be the same slogan you might use with customers.
If you have a logo you are pleased with, include it on your cover page; however, there is no need to rush to create a logo just so you’ll have it to include in your business plan.
Your Business Plan Cover Page Matters – a lot.
First Impressions are Important
The cover page of a business plan is the first impression that a potential investor or lender will have of the entrepreneur and their business idea. As such, it is important for the entrepreneur to put time and effort into making sure that the cover page is professional and well-designed.
One way to make the cover page stand out is by using a high-quality paper and printing the cover page in full color. This will give the cover page a polished and professional look. Additionally, the entrepreneur should consider using a simple and clean design, with a clear and easy-to-read font, to ensure that the cover page is easy to read and understand.
Binders, Staples and Paper Clips
It is not necessary for the cover page to be bound, but it can be placed in a special folder or binder to keep the business plan together and organized. However, it is important to avoid using paper clips or staples as it may give off a unprofessional and unorganized appearance.
Overall, the cover page of a business plan is an important component that can play a significant role in making a positive impression on potential investors or lenders. By putting time and effort into the design and presentation of the cover page, entrepreneurs can increase the chances of their business plan being taken seriously and ultimately secure the funding they need to start or grow their business.
The Main Job of the Business Plan Cover Page
When your business plan is sitting on a banker’s desk with your small business loan application, or being reviewed by an investor or venture capital firm, the business plan cover page is all they will see. therefore, the main purpose of the business plan cover page is to entice the viewer to pick it up and see what’s inside! Imagine an investor with too many business plans and not enough time. He or she will likely put them quickly into three piles: 1) Unprofessional or unpolished; 2) Too flashy; 3) Interesting. They’re easy to tell apart!
Business Plan Cover Examples
You want your business plan cover page to get you noticed–for the right reasons. Look at the images below. Which one will get reader’s attention immediately and get read? Which one looks complete and professional? Do you think the “most noticeable” business plan cover gets noticed for the right reasons? (We don’t either!)
An Incomplete Business Plan Cover Page
The business plan cover page image below is clean and simple. While it is not unprofessional, it is incomplete. The company logo would have made it appear more interesting, but even leaving out the company logo is forgivable. But, do you want your business plan cover to omit your contact information? No! Frankly, this cover page is designed to have a coffee cup set on it.
A Business Plan Cover Page that is Professional and Complete
As you can see in the business plan cover page example below, a proper cover page takes only a little more effort. This can be considered a professional, formal business plan cover.
The company logo was added and serves two purposes. First, it grabs your attention. More importantly a company logo makes your plan document instantly recognizable the second, third and ‘next’ time it is read.
The founder’s contact information has been added to the cover page which is both an essential element, but a courtesy to the reader as well. Make it easy for the reader to contact you.
The tagline below the company logo gives interested parties quick insight into what is inside. Make sure your tagline is descriptive and differentiating. If your business plan cover is going to have a slogan or tagline, it should add clarity.
Finally, we can see that the business plan cover page has a confidentiality statement and a copyright notice. Professional cover pages include this information. It conveys to the reader that this is an important document created by someone with business experience.
A Business Plan Cover Page that is Over the Top
Will business plan covers like the one below get noticed? Let’s agree that’s a yes. Will it get read? Less likely. All the important aspects are there, but this plan tells a LOT about the founder and CEO. Something had him thinking that his photo would make his business plan more compelling. In fairness, he does look like a stock photography image of a young CEO. In complete fairness, that’s exactly what he is! Great picture, just not for the business plan cover page.
The highlighted text is an unnecessary way to draw attention to important details on the business plan’s cover page. Bold, italics and font sizes are better suited for the job. There aren’t that many words on business plan cover pages that you really need to draw attention to specific elements.
Finally, the blue box with the founder’s message in the first person, is non-traditional. There is little to be gained when the business owner introduces him or herself in this way.
Including all the important elements such as your company name, company slogan, business logo, confidentiality statement and contact information is the goal. Dressing it up, or over dressing your cover page, doesn’t do anything to get your entire business plan read. Sending Your Business Plan Digitally – The Business Plan Cover Still Matters
When sending a business plan to a potential investor or lender, it is generally best to send the plan as a PDF file. PDFs are a more secure and universal format, as they cannot be easily edited or altered and can be opened on any device with a PDF reader. Additionally, PDFs maintain the formatting and design of the document, ensuring that the business plan looks professional and polished.
Sending the business plan as a Word document may cause formatting issues, as the document may not look the same on different devices or in different word processing programs. Additionally, Word documents can be easily edited, which may be a concern for some investors or lenders.
Passwords and Watermarks
As for password protecting the file, it is not necessarily wrong to password protect a business plan, but it is not recommended. Password protection can be seen as a barrier to access and may make it appear that the entrepreneur is not transparent or willing to share the information with potential investors.
It is also not recommended to watermark the business plan with the recipient’s name, as it may be seen as unprofessional and may give off the impression that the entrepreneur is not confident in their business idea. It is better to have a clean and professional looking business plan that is easy to read and understand.
Overall, sending a business plan as a PDF file is the best option to ensure that the document is secure, easy to read and looks professional. It is not recommended to password protect or watermark the business plan as it may be seen as unprofessional or as a lack of transparency.
Most people have judged a business plan by its cover. The purpose of the business plan cover page is to present your plan in a way that conforms to professionally accepted standards. Attempts to dazzle the reader with an extraordinary or artsy cover page are risky (unless you’re starting an art supply store). Let the cover page simply be a cover page and allow the inside of your plan to do its job. By following the simple guidelines and template below, you’ll do just that.
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