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A small business blog featuring tips to help entrepreneurs succeed in the small business world. Topics include family business, human resources, marketing, money, networking, operations, ownership, startup, taxes and technology.
Overview – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 1 of 8
If you’ve started a business or are thinking about doing so, then you’ve probably heard that you need a business plan. If you in any way hope to have investors support your company growth or to obtain a business loan, you have to have a business plan. You won’t even be considered without one. It is more or less the sales pitch for your business.
A strong business plan consists of ten essential sections:
1. Market Analysis
2. Company Description
3. Organization & Management
4. Marketing & Sales Management
5. Service or Product Line
6. Funding Requests
7. Financial Information
8. Executive Summary
10. Table of Contents
Over the next two weeks of posts I’m going to cover how to create an appropriate business plan, elaborating on each of these sections. Yes, it will take two weeks. There is a lot of information to cover and summarizing it into a few posts will not be helpful enough for you to put together effective business plan that will win investors and banks over.
Before getting started, you should understand that a business plan is a continual work-in-progress. It will be constantly changing and adapting to reflect new market trends, changes in your finances, changes in your staff, and all the other transitional phases that your business will go through as it grows. Your business plan is something you should review, and revise where needed, on a regular basis — I recommend quarterly.
Begin your business plan by gathering information. There is nothing irrelevant here. You need to know everything there is to know about the market you’re targeting with your product/service. You need to conduct tests on your product, including unbiased consumer feedback and control groups.
You need to know where your business finances stand and the personal finances of your owners and shareholders. Gather resumes on all of your employees, board members and shareholders as well. And this is just scratching the surface on the information you will need. We will cover that in more detail with each post.
Business Plan – Part 1: Overview
Business Plan – Part 2: Market Analysis
Business Plan – Part 3: Define Organizational Structure & Management
Business Plan – Part 4: Define Strategies, Service & Product Line
Business Plan – Part 5: Funding Request & Financial Information
Business Plan – Part 6: Executive Summary, Table of Contents and Appendix
Business Plan – Part 7: Common Business Plan Mistakes
Business Plan – Part 8: Obtaining a Business Loan
Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Executive Summary, Table of Contents and Appendix – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 6 of 8
Define Organizational Structure & Management – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 3 of 8
Funding Request & Financial Information – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 5 of 8
Market Analysis – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 2 of 8
Common Mistakes – How to Write a Business Plan : Part 7 of 8