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Mar
07

40 Days to a Better Business: Day 9 – How To Write a Business Plan (with samples!)

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40 Days to a Better Business

There are many ways to write a business plan. If you had the time, you could write up a 100 page document outlining nearly every idea that you have for making your business profitable. However, if you’re anything like me you’re looking for something a bit more simple and straightforward. (Actually, if you’re like me, you are completely overwhelmed by the thought of writing ANY business plan, let alone a 100-pager.)

Thankfully, you don’t need anything near 100 pages to create a solid business plan. In fact, you can summarize the necessities of a good business plan with these 6 basic components:

1. Executive Summary

Experts recommend that this be around two pages in length. It should be a synopsis of your business plan; an overview of what readers will find in the rest of the document. This section is overtimes written last so that it can summarize everything you include in your business plan.

2. Operating Plan

This section contains details of what products or services you’ll be selling and how precisely you’ll be them. It also lays out how your company will operate on a daily basis. You’ll want to include information about kinds of employees needed, inventory necessities, suppliers, and any other operating facts, such as a description of your manufacturing process. This section will vary for different types of businesses, so just include whatever information is applicable for your business.

3. Management Plan

The management section specifies what people are necessary for your business to run. You will lay out job descriptions, pay, benefits information, etc. Again, this will vary widely from business to business.

4. Marketing Plan

This section covers the marketing plan for your business. You’ll want to provide details on who your target market is and how you will market your products/services to the general public.  You will want to include any specific venues that you will be using (such as offering your product in a specific store or boutique).

5. Finance Plan

The Finance section gives you a chance to lay out the operating costs of your business.   You will want to give a detailed layout of the costs necessary for your business’ daily operating costs as well as an idea of when will your company break even, or make back any money invested in it? In this section you also want to give your expectations for when and how you plan to bring your business to a place where it is profitable.

6. Appendix

The appendix can include any specific financial numbers that you talk about in the Finance Plan section. Include things like your Profit/Loss Statement, a Statement of Cash Flow and a Balance Sheet.

Your business plan is a road map to guide your company to success. It can be used to help find investor or financial backers for your company (in which case you’ll want to be very detailed in your Finance section) or to simply help give a strategic overview of where your business is headed. Some companies put together a business plan every year to give them a chance to make adjustments for ideas that haven’t worked, places of growth and new parts of the business that may not have been in place the prior year.

 

Here are links to a few sample business plans:

Bplans

Entrepreneur

Rockford

SBANC

 

And here is a great link to business plan templates  (scroll down to where you see the heading for Business Plan Templates)

 

 

Read the entire series here.

Learn more about starting your own business HERE!

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