What to Include in Your Business Plan Appendix Section
So you’ve successfully written a business plan for your startup. You’ve followed a business plan template and covered all the important sections as mentioned and made changes according to your unique business. Good job! But now what? Now it’s time to add the final section of your business plan: the appendix.
A business plan appendix contains all the additional documents or supporting data that you couldn’t include in the main sections of the business plan. An appendix is necessary if an investor or a bank asks for specific information that might not fit well in any of the main sections’ format.
Although it’s not a compulsion to add an appendix to your business plan, the latter is still incomplete without it. An appendix essentially supports the claims you have made in your business plan in the preceding sections. As a consequence, it also helps leverage potential investors and stakeholders.
Why do you need a business plan appendix?
A business plan appendix helps the reader get a closer look at your business. This is an opportunity for you to include any relevant information that can help you score extra points. The following are some of the reasons why you need an appendix in your business plan:
- When you apply for a loan, banks can sometimes ask for specific documents such as a personal or business credit history. These usually don’t fit into the format of a generic business plan. You can include these in your appendix section.
- If you wish to include additional information about your products or services like charts or tables, this is a good place. This will give readers a greater insight into your business ideas, marketing process, etc.
What can you include in a business plan appendix?
The appendix can include almost anything that you feel is relevant to your business plan. That said, you don’t need to present every last detail of your business. To give an idea of what you might want to include, we have put together a list of items. Take a look.
1. Supplementary information
Here, you can include additional information to support and expand whatever you have mentioned in other sections of your business plan. These will help the reader better understand the specifics of your company.
- Charts, graphs, and tables
- Marketing material
- Market research
- Competitor information
- Illustrations of products
- Property designs
2. Legal documents
Business plan appendices usually include legal documents. These will protect your business and establish to your readers that you are trustworthy. You can include documents that are relevant or act as evidence of the information or claims present in your business plan. Some of these legal documents are:
- Incorporation papers
- Licenses, permits, patents, and trademarks
- Important contracts
- Pending contracts
- Leases and rental agreements
- Vendor agreements
- Equipment documentation
3. Organizational and personnel details
In the appendix section, you can also include your organizational process and details of the people involved in your company. These will let the reader have a peek into the workings of your company and the people behind it:
- Organizational chart
- Executive members’ resume
- Affiliates such as attorneys, accountants, etc.
4. Additional financial documents
Your business plan already consists of ample financial information. But in case you need to attach any extra documents, you can include them in this section of your business plan. You may also need to include some exclusive documents for your investors and banks. Some of them are:
- List of assets within the business
- Credit history
- Tax returns
- Spreadsheets of financial projections
5. Achievements, testimonials, and news stories
You can also include information that advocates your company’s credibility. This helps the reader to trust your products, and therefore, your brand too. Some of them are:
- Media and press clippings
- Customer or expert endorsements
- Awards and achievements
Protect sensitive data via business plan appendix
Businesses must protect their documents and intellectual information stringently to avoid any theft. Even though a business plan as a whole is a classified document, the appendix part of your business plan can further contain more sensitive and confidential information.
FYI, in case you haven't yet created a confidentiality statement for your business plan, it is time you do so. A confidentiality statement protects the contents of the document and avoids misuse of your information. It also helps you manage who gets to have access to the information.
Make the business plan appendix optional
Your business plan appendix is an auxiliary section of your business plan. This indicates that your business plan should be able to convey everything you aim to, without the support of an appendix. This can be a bit tricky to actualize but needs to be done nonetheless.
While making a business plan, you must keep in mind all the possibilities. The reader will probably skip some parts of the plan. Most probably, the appendix. So it's advisable that it doesn't contain any major details and that skipping it should not make a big difference.
In other words, you must draft your business plan such that even if the reader skips the appendix, they should understand the contents without feeling like you failed to mention an important piece of info.
Win over investors with a business plan appendix
We know that it can be quite exhausting to draft an elaborate business plan. And more often than not, the appendix is easily the one neglected. But it can also be a great opportunity to let your readers know that you are indeed serious about your business idea.