Guide Business Plan Basics

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If you're buying an existing business , be sure to clarify buy-and-sell agreements. Keep in mind that you should have a lawyer look over all contracts and legal issues. It helps to write this last; a page or two of highlights is sufficient. Be sure to clarify whether this is a new business venture, an expansion of an existing business or the purchase of a new business. Start or buy a business Start your business Buy a business Business strategy and planning Money and finance Marketing, sales and export Employees Operations Technology Change of ownership Entrepreneurial skills Entrepreneur's toolkit Blog.

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How to write a business plan. Make it thorough but keep it simple Many entrepreneurs may see putting a business plan together as a daunting task involving hundreds of pages. Here's the core content that you should consider. Your business proposal Include a description of exactly what you're proposing. Your unique selling point Address how your goods or services will appeal to customers.

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Market analysis Make sure you show your lender that you've done your homework. Key competitive information Provide information on competitor weaknesses and strengths and show how you intend to improve on what they're doing. Organizational structure Use organization charts to clearly spell out the roles of key management people and the proposed size of your organization.

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HR requirements You should include information on how you plan to recruit and maintain your employees or handle outsourced work. Premises and capital goods Do an assessment of the company's needs with regard to premises and capital goods such as machinery, technological equipment. Key financial data Be sure to modify your information depending on your target audience. Show your personal and business net worth assets minus liabilities so the lender can judge your ability to repay your debt. A banker will also look at your past credit history to gauge your reliability.

Start from the very beginning understanding that your business plan ought to be specific to your business needs and objectives. Every business ought to have a plan, but not every business needs a full formal plan with carefully crafted summaries and descriptions. To make the best impression on banks and investors, your business plan should be presented in the standard business plan format and contain the necessary business plan elements.

Your business plan should present what a banker or venture capitalist expects to see, in the order they expect to see it in. Following a standard business plan outline will keep you on track, and save you from botching your best chance at getting your business funded. Want to just skip ahead and download our free business plan template?

Just click here. For example, although the executive summary comes as the first business plan section, I recommend writing it after everything else is done, so you know exactly what appears in the rest of your business plan. Likewise, although the management summary is usually presented toward the end of a finished business plan, it might be an easy place to start writing. And some people prefer to start with a mission statement, or strategy summary.

Q&A: Business plan basics | Start Up Donut

Others like to focus on the numbers first, so they start with a sales forecast or spending budget. Start where you like , and get going. A healthy business planning process will always involve circling back often to check results and revise as necessary. You can click each of the above links to jump directly to that business plan section.

Write this last. Summarize the problem you are solving for customers, your solution, the target market, the founding team, and financial forecast highlights. Keep things as brief as possible and entice your audience to learn more about your company. Describe the problem that you solve for your customers and the solution that you are selling. It is always a good idea to think in terms of customer needs and customer benefits as you define your product offerings, rather than thinking of your side of the equation how much the product or service costs, and how you deliver it to the customer.

Sometimes this part of the plan will include tables that provide more details, such as a bill of materials or detailed price lists, but more often than not this section just describes what you are selling and how your products and services fill a need for your customers. Use this business plan section to outline your marketing plan, your sales plan, and the other logistics involved in actually running your business. Last Updated: Aug 10, Learn the basics of why you should write a business plan and what the key elements are. The best way to show bankers, venture capitalists, and angel investors that you are worthy of financial support is to show them a great business plan.

Make sure that your plan is clear, focused and realistic. Then show them that you have the tools, talent and team to make it happen. Your business plan is like your calling card, it will get you in the door where you'll have to convince investors and loan officers that you can put your plan into action. Once you have raised the money to start or expand your business, your plan will serve as a road map for your business.

7 Giant Steps: Business Plan Basics

It is not a static document that you write once and put away. You will reference it often, making sure you stay focused and on track, and meet milestones. It will change and develop as your business evolves. Not everyone who starts and runs a business begins with a business plan, but it certainly helps to have one.

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If you are seeking funding from a venture capitalist, you will certainly need a comprehensive business plan that is well thought out and contains sound business reasoning. If you are approaching a banker for a loan for a start-up business, your loan officer may suggest a Small Business Administration SBA loan, which will require a business plan.

If you have an existing business and are approaching a bank for capital to expand the business, they often will not require a business plan, but they may look more favorably on your application if you have one.