For any organization, various functional plans-marketing, financial, human resources, production-have to be laid down, even though all the functional plans serve different purposes and all theses plans provide guidance and structure to the successful running of the business.
I teach that you should seek to learn from competitors; obviously never copy another business's idea or what they are doing, but you can absolutely learn from their mistakes or see what they are doing and discover ways to improve it. All of that analysis belongs in your business plan: make sure you have your competitors under the microscope and make sure that is a solid chunk of your plan. That is some of the best research and information you will gather about what will make your business successful in future.
Before the preparing the plan, the entrepreneur should: Review previous business plans (if any) and their outcome. This review will help highlight which areas of the business have proved difficult to forecast historically. Be very clear as to objectives on which their plans will be based. Set out the key business assumptions on which their plans will be based.
So it is crucial that every time you mention financials in your business plan, to really give them the correct context. When I have worked with clients in developing business plans, there has been a budget or amount set aside for example to be spent on marketing, which has been decided a bit arbitrarily. I mean with no real research, no understanding of what that amount needs to be spent on, and what that budget will truly achieve.