Cover and Table of Contents : Wrap the plan in a binder. On the cover you should give it a title and state clearly who the main contributors are and when it was prepared. Then you can include a contents page that clearly divides the report into sections with page numbers so that interested parties can easily find the information that they are looking for.
Financial Planning : Perhaps one of the most important parts of any business plan is the financial plan. You need to make some forecasts of revenue and expenditure over a period of several years. You can then estimate when you will reach a break even point and how much profit will be possible in the future. Set out anticipated monthly cash flows in a spreadsheet program on your computer. As businesses often don't grow as fast as their owners expect them to you should outline several scenarios. One scenario can show your expected outcome, one can show a more optimistic forecast and the third one can show a worst case scenario.
It should include a market research that identifies your competitors, their share of the market and the range of the products they produce. By learning how they conduct their operations, you may learn tricks of the trade in the business you want to enter and you also get to have a basis on what you can do to excel.
The most important aspect of business planning (the "What does it all come down to?" part), however, is spending the time to do your research ("due diligence") and critically thinking about these various aspects of your business. Of course, it is impossible to anticipate every detail simply by spending time thinking and writing; it is for this reason that plans are referred to and viewed as "dynamic". However, the more issues and scenarios you are able to come up with ahead of time, the more prepared you will be to handle these as they arise.