Business & Finance Small Business

The Simple Business Plan

What's in a business plan? For most small businesses, a business plan need not be 100 pages and a giant box of supporting addenda.
Creating and writing a business plan simply involves writing down the essence of your business planning process.
Unless you've done the planning, it's tough to write a plan.
Once you've done the planning, it's simply a matter of writing a summary of that planning process.
Here's a brief outline of what a simple business plan should contain: Executive Summary Markets - Product/Service Offering - Customers - Competition Marketing Plan Financial Viability - P&L Projections - Cash Flow - Break-Even Analysis Addenda The first section of your business plan is the executive summary and it should be written last.
After you've completed all the rest of your plan, write a summary of the plan in one page.
It should offer a brief summary of your markets, market plan and financial viability.
Additionally, you should identify how much money you need to borrow and how you plan to repay the funds.
Take your time with this section and get it right.
In some cases, it may be the only page that gets read.
The business plan is about your market and strategy.
You should first identify what it is that you plan to do and to whom you will sell your product or service.
This means, who are your customers and what do they want? Next, identify the competition in your market area and figure out what they do well and not so well.
If you actually do this, you'll be way ahead of most of your counterparts.
How will you market your products or services? What is your plan for getting sales? You need a solid plan for getting your name out in the market and attracting customers to your business.
Investors or bankers will be most interested in this section of your plan.
Make it specific and actionable.
In other words, identify exactly what you'll do, in what time frame and how much it will cost.
Don't forget to include your marketing goals and how you'll measure success.
Based on your business model, your market and your marketing plan, how much business do you expect to generate? Frankly, this is the hardest part of the business plan.
Your estimate should be reasonable and conservative.
Based on the sales projection, what are the expenses associated with a company this size? Create a profit and loss projection covering two years or a period at least long enough to show profitability.
Also, show the cash flow associated with this business and over what time period it takes to generate a positive cash flow.
Finally, in the financial section, what is the break-even analysis suggest? How many sales do you need to support this organization and is that amount of sales reasonable? Finally, in the addenda section attach owner resumes and product brochures and legal documents associated with your business.
That's really all a business plan needs.
If you are borrowing money, your bank may require some other specific documents like tax returns or other information.
Be prepared to provide whatever other information your bank officer needs to make a decision.

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