Business Plan

AuthorMonica Turner

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A business plan is a written document used to describe a proposed venture or idea. It typically includes the current state of a business, future vision for the business, target market analysis and challenges, sales and marketing strategies, and funding requirements to reach stated goals. Many business plans are designed with the intention of securing funding and investors to support a proposed idea; others are designed to assist with reorganization, takeovers, or to serve as an internal planning document. On its website, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)( describes it this way:

A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals, and serves as your firm's resume… It helps you allocate resources properly, handle unforeseen complications, and make good business decisions. Because it provides specific and organized information about your company and how

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you will repay borrowed money, a good business plan is a crucial part of any loan application. Additionally, it informs sales personnel, suppliers, and others about your operations and goals.


The article "Write the Right Business Plan," lists ten things to consider before tackling the document:

Decide why you're writing your plan—what is your motivation?

Do your homework—read some books, explore web resources.

Compile your information—locate articles, financial statements.

Start typing—write down all your ideas, notes and questions in outline form.

Write a rough draft—Flesh out the outline with full sentences and paragraphs.

Do more research—support your case with data via Small Business Association contacts, annual reports, and competitors in the chosen industry.

Think about the numbers—develop pro forma financial statements.

Write a final draft—demonstrate attention to detail with accuracy and clarity.

Get feedback—have someone else read over your plan and offer advice.

Polish your plan to perfection—include a cover page, table of contents, nondisclosure form and an executive summary containing highlights.

Employees with the right skill set and expertise can collaborate to create the business plan. Alternatively, a consultant can be hired to assist with the process. A consultant can bring expertise and professionalism to the appearance and tone of your business plan, provide informed market analysis and research assistance, and supply educated projections for a market that the entrepreneur might be unfamiliar with or have little experience analyzing.

After determining who will be working on the plan, it is useful to decide on the scope of the plan and timeframe for completion of the plan. Once the team or consultant is in place, research and analysis can begin. Internal and external assessments should be conducted and then examined. The interpretations of these assessments will be the framework of the plan- and will guide goal setting and strategies for the company. Once goals and strategies are determined, a solid business plan can be formed toward fulfilling these goals.

From a management perspective, a business plan allows managers to set priorities and allocate resources effectively. It brings order and direction to an organization and provides a vision of the future that employees throughout the company can put energy into and get excited about. This shared vision and focus will benefit the company at every level and ensure that all constituents are working cooperatively and cohesively. Ideally, all employees will utilize the information from the business plan to assist in goal setting, and guide in decision making and performance assessments.


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