Any funder worth his or her salt wants to see it right off the bat. Moreover though, a solid business plan is a living document that will continue to guide your efforts as your business grows. A lot of those mistakes most of them, in fact are the result of poor planning.
Bad location, a marginal niche, having no specific user in mind, raising too much or too little money--all of these issues can be prevented or at least mitigated with good planning. Creating your business plan is more than just getting your ideas down on paper for potential funders to see. It might even lead you to kill off aspects of your business before investing too much time or money in them. Pretty much everything on it can be customized. Check out these comprehensive business plan templates you can download for free to get you started:.
Score is an American nonprofit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs get their companies off the ground. Its template, available as a PDF or Word download, asks a whopping questions and is generic enough to customize for most types of businesses. The Refining the Plan resource that comes with it is helpful, especially if this is your first crack at writing a business plan.
Who said a business plan has to be a long, complicated document? Some funders are going to want to see a lot of detail, but you can provide that in appendices. Write your marketing and sales strategy. In this section, explain how you intend to penetrate the market, manage growth, communicate with customers, and distribute your products or services.
Will you use sales representatives, billboard advertising, pamphlet distribution, social media marketing, or all of the above?
Make a funding request. If you will use your business plan to secure funding, include a funding request. Explain how much money you need to start and maintain your small business. Provide an itemized summary of how start-up capital will be used.
Give a timeline for your funding request. To accurately complete this step, in some cases it might be necessary to hire an accountant, lawyer, or other professional. For one full year, provide monthly and quarterly statements. Each year after that, yearly statements.
These documents will be placed in the Appendix Section of your business plan. Include projected cash flows for at least 6 years or until stable growth rates are achieved and if possible, a valuation calculation based on discounted cash flows. Write the executive summary. Your executive summary will serve as an introduction to your business plan. Remember to place this section at the beginning of your document. When was the business first conceptualized? What are some notable growth benchmarks?
Start-ups will focus more on industry analysis and their funding goal. Existing businesses and start-ups should highlight any major achievements, contracts, current or potential clients and summarize future plans. Potential investors might want to see this information before making a decision.
The documents you include here should support claims made in other sections of the business plan. There should a section clearly outlining the risk factors affecting your venture and your mitigation plans. This also indicates to the reader how well prepared you are for contingencies. Review your business plan for spelling and grammatical errors.
Do this several times before deciding on the final version. Rework or completely rewrite content to ensure it works from the perspective of the reader. This is especially true if you are creating a "presentation plan".
Read your document aloud. This allows you to detect if any sentences do not flow together well, and it also makes any grammatical mistakes more obvious. Make a copy and give it to a trusted friend or colleague to proofread and provide feedback.
Create a cover page. The cover page identifies your document and gives it aesthetic appeal and professionalism. It also helps your document to stand out. Your cover page should include: The words "Business Plan" centered in large bold font, along with your company name, company logo, and contact information. Not Helpful 11 Helpful What is a marketing business plan sample for a boutique and fashion store? Not Helpful 14 Helpful You can start with something small.
Business cards, website, or anything that will alert people about your company. You can even post flyers at your local church or grocery store. A business must be registered to make sure that it is legal and a viable choice for investors and customers. Not Helpful 3 Helpful Follow the steps in this article but craft it to make it specific to hardware.
Not Helpful 3 Helpful 3. Where does a tech company start? I need money for servers to run the service, but I need the service to earn money. A good solid foundation and business plan showing them how you will become successful could help in getting that revenue..
Not Helpful 9 Helpful 3. Research possible locations for your business. Make a chart of the most expensive and least expensive sites by location and square footage. Determine your start-up cost. Make a list of all the tangible and intangible resources you need to get your business going.
Be honest and conservative in your estimates, but also be optimistic. You can forgo the expensive trimmings of an office of a more well-established company and stick to the basics at the beginning. Put yourself in the shoes of potential investors. Depending on your product, you may need to search long and hard for relevant information.
Can you still do a better job or provide a better widget than your competitors? In other cases, it may be a case of focusing more narrowly or more broadly than your competitors are doing. They follow specific guidelines, such as the Risk Management Association R.
A database, which are designed to ensure that they will make money by investing in or lending to your business. What will you accomplish for others? What products and services will you produce or provide?
Write down all the specific needs your company will satisfy. Potential investors need to know that your business will be meaningful and marketable to people who can use your product or service. So concentrate on the external needs your company will meet. What will your product or service enable people to do better, more cheaply, more safely, or more efficiently?
Will your new mousetrap help people capture mice without feeling sick to their stomachs? Will your new bubblegum scented bubble bath revolutionize the way children agree to take nightly baths? Choose a winning strategy. How will you distinguish your product or service from others? Although there are millions of types of businesses, there are actually only a few basic strategies that can be applied to make any enterprise successful.
The first step in selecting an effective strategy is to identify a competitive advantage for your product or service. Your competitive advantage may include designing special features not found in rival products. It may entail superior service characteristics such as speedier delivery, a lower price, or more attentive sales people——these are never to be sniffed at as possible winning ways, as many companies grow complacent and can be overtaken by giving customers experiences that are better than the average expectations.
Consider how will you hire and organize your workforce. Keep in mind that your initial plans will undoubtedly change as your business grows. You may need to hire more managers to supervise your expanding staff or to set up new departments to meet new customer demands.
For now, you want to secure help in getting started and convince your funding sources that you will become profitable. Consider the practical issues of running a business. Think about your role as leader or boss of the business. As you think about hiring personnel and organizing your workforce, you must also confront your desire and ability to be a good boss.
For example, salaries and wages, their insurance and retirement benefits, as well as analyzing the extent of your knowledge of tax related issues. Do you need to bring in experienced managers right away? Will you keep some of the existing employees or hire all new people? And where do you find these potential employees?
Funding sources will also want to know if any of your partners expect to work alongside you or if their obligations are only financial. Your plan will need to specify the key management jobs and roles. Positions such as president, vice presidents, chief financial officer, and managers of departments will need to be defined along with stating who reports to whom. Decide on a marketing plan. Consider how will you reach your customers. What will you say to persuade and convince customers that your product or service is better value, more timely, more useful, etc.
What advertising and promotional efforts will you employ? For example, two for the price of one specials or free coupons inside those same kid-oriented cereal boxes? Where can you locate lists of the greatest concentrations of children under the age of eight or whatever group constitutes your market? Build a dynamic sales effort. In a nutshell, this part of your business plan is about how you will attract customers or clients for your product or services.
What will your basic sales philosophy be? Building long-term relationships with a few major clients or developing a clientele of many short-term customers? Organize all the relevant information about your business. Begin creating section headings and putting the appropriate information under the appropriate headings.
Write the executive summary last. It should be less about the nitty-gritty details of operations and more about your grand vision for the company and where it is headed.
Gather all the information together and prepare multiple drafts. At first, do not worry about capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. All you need to worry about is putting your ideas down on paper. Once you have a general form, you can spend time proofreading your plan and correcting mistakes. Have someone else read over it for you and take heed of their comments. Sell yourself and your business. The idea of the business plan is to present yourself in the best light.
The talents, experience and enthusiasm you bring to your enterprise are unique. They provide some of the most compelling reasons for others to finance your concept. Keep in mind that investors invest in people more than ideas.
Even if your potential business has many competitors or is not on the cutting edge of an industry, the qualifications and commitment you demonstrate in your plan can convince others to proffer their support. Focus on group experiences, leadership opportunities, and successes at all levels.
A business plan can help a company _____. A) Operate more effectively B) Raise capital C) Define its core mission D) All of the above E) None of the above. D. Writing a business plan can ensure that you _____. A) Achieve your expense projection B) Make a profit.
The company's original business plan needs to be revised as new goals are set. Reviewing the business plan can also help you see what goals have been accomplished, what changes need to be made, or what new directions your company's growth should take. 05 To Attract Investors.
Jul 11, · To write a business plan for a small business, start by writing an executive summary that briefly outlines your business. Follow that with a company description that explains your business 89%(). Oct 23, · How to Write a Business Plan [Updated for ] by: your business plan is a tool to help you build a better business, not just a homework assignment. your cash flow statement will help you figure out how much money you might need to raise or borrow to grow your company. Since an operating business can’t run out of cash without having /5().
Business documents can become boring, which doesn't help you get funding. While you don't want to be over the top, you want to make sure your passion and excitement for the business . A business plan is a written description of your business's future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope.