Every business should have a business plan. It is your road map to the future and is usually essential if you want to get financing.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Bonded paper
- Business plan software
- Laser printer
Organize the information for your business plan. Include information on your company, product or service, customers, market, competition and potential risk.
Write an executive summary. This is the first section of the plan--a 2-page description of all the elements covered in more detail later.
Describe your company. Spell out the purpose of your business. Talk about the skills you and your management team have.
Explain your product or service. Detail how you will make or provide it. Analyze the costs associated with this process. List your supply sources.
Talk about the market you're entering. Discuss general trends in the industry. Include details about the market segment you are pursuing, the niche you are targeting and your target customer; provide demographics on your potential customers and explain their buying habits. Analyze your competition.
Describe your marketing plan. Explain how you will generate sales through advertising, promotion and public relations. Estimate all costs conservatively.
Detail your yearly revenue projections and your expenses.
Tips and warnings
- Be sure to gather all of the information for your business plan before you start writing it. Organize your research in outline form, then start writing.
- Limit the plan to less than 50 pages. Investors and lenders get business plans every day. Most plans get a cursory look before they are either discarded or kept for further review.
- A business plan is a never-ending process. As your company grows, update your business plan projections.