"The dictionary is
the only place where success comes before work." Mark
comprehensive, well researched business plan provides a strong
foundation for the success of a
many business plans are done haphazardly, or as a quick-fix to attract
necessary financial support. Numerous other businesses fail to write a
business plan, citing lack of knowledge as the reason for not writing a
many small business hope that by running their business by the
seat of their pants, or as they go, they can overcome the lack
of a well founded plan.
85% of the people that do not take the time
to plan their businesses or career will not
reach their desired level of success or will
fail altogether. Of those that do take the
time to write their plan, 85% will succeed.
40% of people with a strategic plan will
double their income and profits within two
years of writing their plan.
|With a strategic plan, greater than 70% of
these people will exceed their own
expectations within the next 5 years regardless of economic conditions.
people, their planning consists of
setting the alarm clock to
get out of bed to go to work;
Others plan by daily To-Do lists and crisis
Those with an unwavering commitment to a desire of
will take the steps to plan their business and their
~ Sumner M. Davenport~
Many people mistakenly assume that to write
a successful start-up business plan they
should dazzle their readers with
complicated technical jargon, complex corporate structures and fierce non-disclosure pledges.
Yet the truth is that this type of approach can actually alienate
plan is not to show how sophisticated you are as a
writer, but how practical and
attainable your goals are.
are attempting to raise $20,000 or $2,000,000, you should be sure to address certain
crucial areas that convince investors your business is a good risk.
Following is a general approach
that you can use as a foundation. However, you should tailor your plan to
meet the specific circumstances of your
business, emphasizing its strengths and addressing the potential problems
and challenges to be faced.
successful person makes a habit of doing
failing person doesn't like to do.
The summary should concisely
describe the key elements of your
business plan. If you are seeking
financing, your summary should convince the
lender or venture capitalist that it is worthwhile
to review your plan in detail. The summary should briefly cover at least
* Name of
location (virtual and/or Physical Brick & Mortar);
Discussion of the product, market and competition;
* Expertise of the
of your financial projections;
* Amount of
financial assistance requested (if applicable);
* Form of
and purpose for the financial assistance (if applicable);
for undertaking the project (if financial assistance is sought);
Even if you are writing this plan only to help you
identify your business idea, each of these points is
essential. Many entrepreneurs mistakenly overlook
the financial projections, silently hoping it will
all work out. The more focus you put into the
foundation of your business plan, the easier it will
be to see your route.
some this process of putting their idea into writing
is easy, and others need assistance. Whether you
need short term coaching or assistance with your
full written plan, there are coaches, business
consultants and workshops available. Some offer
discounts and free initial consultations. Let us
Email us with your request.
2. The Company
This section provides background information on the company and
* A general description of the business,
including the product or service;
Historical development of the business, including:
- Name, date and place (state) of formation;
Legal structure (proprietorship, partnership, corporation);
Significant changes (including dates) in ownership, structure, new
products or lines, and acquisitions;
Subsidiaries and degree of ownership, including minority interests;
Principals and the roles they played in the formation
of the company.
3. The Product or Service
Describe the present or planned product or service lines, including:
importance of each product/service including
evaluation (use, quality, performance);
Comparison to competitors' products/ services and
competitive advantages over other producers;
for product or service and factors affecting demand other than price.
4. The Project
If financing is sought for a
specific project, describe the
project, the purpose for which it is undertaken,
its cost and the amount, and the form and
use of the financial assistance.
* Organizational chart;
Personal resumes (describing skills and experience as they relate to activities of the business);
Present salaries (include other compensation ,ie:
stock options, bonuses);
Number of employees at year end, total payroll expenses
for each of
previous five years broken down by wages and
Method of compensation;
Departmental or divisional breakdown of work force.
Names, addresses, business affiliations of principal holders of
subject's common stock and other types
of equity securities (include details on holdings);
* Degree to
which principal holders are involved in
Names of board of directors, areas of expertise and
role of board when business is operational;
* Amount of
stock currently authorized and issued.
Marketing Strategy/Market Analysis
Description of the industry. Include:
Principal markets (commercial/industrial, consumer, government, international);
size - current as well as anticipated in
the next 10 years (explain sources of projections);
Major characteristics of the industry.
major social, economic, technological or regulatory trends on the
Description of major customers. Include:
Names, locations, products or services sold to each;
Percentage of annual sales volume for each customer over previous five years (if applicable);
Duration and condition of contracts in place.
Description of market and its major segments. Include:
Principal market participants and their performance;
Customer requirements and ways of filling those requirements;
Buying habits of customers ;
Impact on customers using your product/service.
Description of competition: companies with which your
business competes and how your business compares with these companies.
This section is a more
detailed narrative than that contained in the
description of the
product or service above.
Description of prospective customers. Include reaction
to your firm and any of
its products or services
they have seen or tested.
Description of firm's marketing activities. Include:
Overall marketing strategy;
Method of selling, distributing and servicing the
Geographic penetration, field product support, advertising,
and promotions, and priorities
among these activities.
Description of selling activities. Include the method
for identifying prospective customers and how
and in what order you will contact the relevant decision-makers. Also
describe your sales effort--sales
channels and terms, number of salespersons, number of sales contacts,
anticipated time, initial order
size--and estimated sales and market
Describe technical status of your product--idea stage,
prototype--and the relevant activities, milestones
and other steps necessary to bring the product into production.
patent or copyright position (if applicable). Include how much is patented and how much
patented (how comprehensive and effective the
patents or copyrights will be).
a list of patents, copyrights,
licenses or statements of proprietary interest in the product or product
new technologies that may become practical in the next five years that
may affect the product.
new products (derived from first generation products) the firm plans
develop to meet changing needs.
regulatory or approval requirements and status,
and discuss any
other technical and legal considerations
that may be relevant to the
technological development of the product.
research and development efforts and future
plans for research and development.
9. Production/Operating Plan
* Explain how the firm will perform
production or delivery of service.
Describe in terms of:
Physical facilities--owned or leased, size and location,
capabilities, types and quantities of equipment needed.
Include a facilities plan and
description of planned capital improvements, and timetable for
names and locations, length of lead time
required, usual terms of purchase, contracts and subcontractors.
Labor supply (current and planned): number of employees, unionization, stability (seasonal or
and fringe benefits.
Technologies/skills required to develop and manufacture the products.
Cost breakdown for materials, labor and manufacturing overhead for each
product, plus cost versus volume
curves for each product or service.
production or operating advantages of the
firm; discuss whether
are expected to continue.
standard product costs at different volume
* Present a
schedule of work for the next one to two
If you are seeking financing, most lenders and venture
* A funding
request indicating the desired financing, capitalization, use of funds and
statements for the past three years, if applicable;
* Monthly cash
flow financial projection, including the proposed financing, for
balance sheets, income statement and statement
of changes in
financial position for two
years including the proposed financing.
Give yourself the Edge when seeking Capital
Make Your Own Destiny: Guides to Start a Business
Get ideas, get inspiration,
just remember the success of your plan will be based on
your input and your commitment. It's more than just
copying someone else's idea.
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