Why? A good plan helps you understand your business expenses and cash flow, and it can lay out your goals and track milestones along the way. It’s also important if you’re applying for a loan or approaching potential investors who may be interested in your future business.
That means when you’re writing your business plan, you have one chance to make a good first impression and catch your reader’s attention. It takes a lot of research and planning, but after you’ve finished the hard work of compiling the contents of your plan, you’re still not done. Your business plan’s cover page may seem like an afterthought, but it shouldn’t be. As they say, never judge a book by its cover, but that’s precisely what happens when it comes to business plan cover pages.
A glimpse at the cover page can be enough for someone to decide if they want to pay attention to your business or ignore it. So, before you distribute your business plan, design a cover that stands out and entices interested parties to find out more about your company.
Helpful resource: How to Write Your First Business Plan
What is a business plan cover page?
Think of the cover page (also called a title page) as a welcome mat that leads to your full business plan. It’s meant to be simple and highlight the legal information of your business like a company logo, company name, address, contact details, and other key information.
The quality and appearance of the cover page may influence the perception of the material that follows in your plan—and the credibility of your business. If you want to spark the interest of prospective investors or lenders, you need to make sure that it’s professional, informative, and easy to read.
What is the purpose of a business plan cover page?
The main purpose of any business plan cover page is to inform and enhance your report. Your cover page should communicate a little about the business plan itself and provide the necessary information for a reader to contact you about the business you’re spotlighting.
Keep the cover page concise and focus only on the introductory basics. There’s no need to get into the weeds here. Instead, save those details about how your business will operate for the executive summary, which underlines the most crucial pieces of your plan, such as your short-term and long-term goals.
What should you include on a business plan cover page?
There are no hard-and-fast rules about what to show on your business plan cover page. But there are a few standard elements you should consider adding. Once you know what information you want to use, you just have to arrange it.
1. Document title
Often, the title of these documents is merely “Business Plan.” But you can also customize it with “Five-Year Business Plan” or “Business Acquisition Plan” if you want to outline more explicit goals of your business plan.
Use a clear, bold font to increase readability, like Times New Roman, Garamond, or Arial. Avoid script lettering as it doesn’t come across as professional and may be challenging to read.
2. Business name
Add your company name below the title of the document. Use the same font of the title, but increase the font size slightly, so it stands out. Your company name is a significant part of the cover page, so use sharp, bold text that’s big enough to read clearly. Also, center your company name a few spaces below the title to continue a clean and consistent appearance.
3. Contact information
Below your company name, include a physical address, phone number, email, website, and other details about your business. You can also add a section titled “prepared by” to list your name and credentials, as well as the names of partners or collaborators, so readers know where to direct their inquiries.
To keep consistent formatting, center this information on the page. You can use a smaller font size than you used for your company name and title, as long as the information is clearly visible and legible.
4. Date of completion
Under your company’s contact information, include the month and year you completed your business plan. Use the same font size as your address and contact information, and center the text for consistency.
5. Company logo
Your logo is the foundation of your brand identity. It can draw interest and pique the curiosity of your audience. If you have a high-resolution thumbnail of your company’s logo, add and center it at the top of the page. The logo should be large enough that readers can easily see details, but not so big that it’s a distraction from the rest of the content.
6. Business tagline
Some businesses use a tagline to show what they do and how they’re different from the competition. Think Nike’s “Just Do It” or Dollar Shave Club’s “Shave Time. Shave Money.”
If you have a tagline, add it to your cover page under your company logo so readers understand straight away what you do or how you do it. A memorable tagline can excite an investor so that they’ll take a special interest while evaluating your business plan.
7. Confidentiality statement
At the bottom of your cover page, add a brief confidentiality statement to protect your business’s intellectual property or sensitive information. This may prevent others from disclosing your business plan without your permission.
For this section, use a slightly smaller font size, but try to make sure the text is still visible. Here’s an example of a typical confidentiality statement:
“This document contains confidential, proprietary information created by (your company’s name). It is issued exclusively for informational purposes and should not be reproduced without the consent of (your company’s name).”
Business plan cover page templates
Looking to create a standout cover page? There are dozens of professionally-designed business plan templates, including cover pages, available online. You can download and customize these in a matter of minutes.
If you need help getting started, try one of these:
You might even be able to adapt one of Canva’s proposal templates to suit your needs.
How to make your business plan cover page stand out
A cover page that’s messy or unprofessional in any way can create negative preconceptions in your reader’s minds before they even look at your business plan.
Set yourself up for success with a cover page that stands out by following these best practices:
Use consistent formatting
Inconsistent formatting can turn a stable document into chaos. Try to stay consistent when using styles and line spacing. Make sure your fonts are complementary, and don’t select too many—that could be overwhelming.
Because your cover is the first page of a business plan, it’s important to ensure there are zero spelling typos or mistakes within your content. Carefully proofread your document before distributing the final draft and ask someone else to read your work. Having a second set of eyes can smooth out any rough spots and save you potential embarrassment.
Show your brand’s personality
The design elements (color scheme, font type, images) you use can create a memorable, bold statement for your cover page that’ll make a positive impression on your audience. Still, do keep it professional. Coordinate the colors with your company’s logo or brand, and be sure the elements don’t distract from the important details on the cover page.
How Bench can help
While we can’t design a beautiful business plan cover page for you, we can help you out with the contents of that plan. Bench is America’s largest professional bookkeeping service for small businesses. We can handle your bookkeeping and tax filing for you while you focus on starting and running your business. Even if you’re pre-revenue, you need a solid bookkeeping setup—plus, reliable bookkeeping can give you the numbers you need to prove to investors that you’re a good bet.
Even if you aren’t using your business plan to seek funding, including your financial projections offers major benefits. By looking into the future of your business, you can make plans for growth and set realistic goals to reach along the way. Get started with our guide to financial forecasting.
Make a great first impression
Although your business plan cover page has a big job to do, it’s meant to be simple and straightforward. With just a few business details, like your company name, logo, and contact information, the cover page is your first opportunity to stand out and persuade readers that you’re worth the investment.