This article was co-authored by Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive, entrepreneur, and investment advisor in Texas. There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. A business plan refers to a written document that comprehensively outlines what your business is, where it is going, and how it will get there. The business plan outlines in specific terms the financial objectives of your business, and how it will position itself to achieve those goals in the context of the current market environment. In addition, the business plan is an indispensable tool to attract business capital. This article will outline how to create one step-by-step.
Determine the type of business plan you will use. While all business plans share the common objective of describing a businesses purpose and structure, analyzing the marketplace, and creating cash flow projections, the types of plans differ. This can be considered the full version of the miniplan, and its main purpose is to outline, without emphasis on appearance, precisely how to build and operate the business. This is the plan that the business owner would refer to regularly as the business moves towards its objectives. The presentation plan is meant for individuals other than those owning and operating the business.
This could include potential investors or bankers. It is essentially the working plan, business proposal for new business with an emphasis on sleek, marketable presentation, and proper business language and terminology. Whereas the working plan is made for reference by the owner, the presentation needs to be written with investors, bankers, and the public in mind.
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Understand the basic structure of the business plan. Whether you opt for a miniplan, or a comprehensive working plan to start, it is essential to understand the basic elements of a business plan. The business concept is the first broad element of a business plan. The focus here is on the description of your business, its market, its products, and its organizational structure and management. The market analysis is the second major element of a business plan.
Your business will operate within a particular marketplace, and it is important to understand customer demographics, preferences, needs, buying behavior, as well as the competition. The financial analysis is the third component of the business plan. If your business is new, this will include projected cash flows, capital expenditures, and the balance sheet. It will also include forecasts as to when the business will break-even. If you lack business or financial education, it is never a bad idea to enlist the help of an accountant to assist with the financial analysis portion of the plan. The above sections are the broad components of the business plan.
Format section titles in Roman Numeral order. For example, I, II, III, and so forth. Write your company description as the first section. To do this, describe your business and identify the marketplace needs for your product or service.
Briefly describe your key customers and how you intend to succeed. The purpose of this section is explore and demonstrate knowledge of the market your business is operating within. Include information about your target market. You should be able to answer questions like, who is your target market?
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