Reading a business plan

Business Plan

Think you have a great idea for a business? The simple business plan template presented here will get you started. A standard business plan consists of a single document divided into several sections including a description of the organization, the market researchcompetitive analysissales strategiescapital and labor requirements, and financial data.

The resulting document can serve as the blueprint for your business and be supplied to financial institutions or investors if debt or equity financing is needed to get your business off the ground. There is still going to be a lot of work involved. For instance, not only do you have to complete the financial spreadsheets, but you have to do the math yourself. Finally, merging data from Excel spreadsheets into your Word document is harder than it looks.

A corporate business plan for a large organization can be hundreds of pages long. However, for a small business, it's best to keep the plan short and concise, especially if you intend to submit it to bankers or investors. Capping your plan at 30 pages should be sufficient unless you need to include photos of products, equipment, logosbusiness premises or site plans, etc.

Once you complete your simple business plan be sure to format it attractively, print it and get it professionally bound. You want your business plan to convey the best possible physical impression; make it something people are going to want to pick up and look at. Enter your business information including the legal name, address, etc. If you already have a business logo you can add it at the top or bottom of the title page. An overview of the industry and how your business will compete in the sector.

In this section, you need to demonstrate that you have thoroughly analyzed the target market and that there is enough demand for your product or service to make your business viable. The target market description and competitive analysis portions can be two separate sections in the plan or combined as shown:. Product or Service Offerings.

Pricing Strategy. Sales and Distribution. Advertising and Promotion. This section describes the legal structure, ownership, and if applicable the management, and staffing requirements of your business. Ownership Structure. Management Team. External Resources and Services. Human Resources. The operating plan outlines the physical requirements of your business, such as office, warehouse, retail space, equipment, inventory and supplies, labor, etc.Note: I originally posted this yesterday on gust.

This seems like a good point to summarize here what I look for in a business plan. Glasses on paper image from homepage courtesy of Shutterstock.

reading a business plan

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reading a business plan

Be the first to rate this post. Follow him on Twitter Timberry. What Makes a Successful Business Plan? What makes a great plan? How to Win a Business Plan Competition. Read Funding By: Tim Berry. Let me assign my own. Tell stories. A story tells market need way better than general market numbers. Write about problems you solve and who has them, how you solve them, and why you do it better than anybody else.

I want a forecast that starts with specifics like channels or traffic and conversions or segments and builds up. I hate the forecast that assets some huge market and takes a small percentage of it. I want unit economics. Often this is part of a good forecast. Tell me what it costs to produce one unit, what the channel pays for it if channels are relevant or what the buyer pays for it, what it costs to ship, and so on.

I want realistic expenses. Most plans are pretty good about estimating direct costs but bad about underlying expenses.

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Never write that you have no competition. Even the most amazing disruptive game-changing plans have competition. If not now, then tomorrow. I want good positioning. Start with a relatively narrow product-market fit and, if you can, move it gradually up to more markets and more segments. Explain in your plan which segment is first and why.

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I want to see basic numbers. I expect projected monthly income, balance, and cash flow for the next year and annual projections for the second and third year.

reading a business plan

And I want to see them, as in useful business charts, but I want to be able to see the numbers in detail too. I want to see milestones: dates and deadlines. And progress made. What have you actually done in the recent past? Write about achievements. By far the best validation of a plan is actual sales made already. People have written checks.Table of contents. Set things in motion with a business development plan. A business development plan is just like the business plan you created when you started your business, but with a focus on growth and how to achieve it.

Identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats — these will form the basis of your plan.

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For more information, check out the SWOT analysis section in the how to write a business plan chapter of our guide to starting a business. Your business development plan is the cornerstone of your growth strategy. Review and revise your plan as often as you can.

And keep building on it as your business evolves. Opportunities for growth Study your target market, your competitors, and your previous progress. How much capital do you already have? How much more do you need and how will you get it? Financial goals Do profit, revenue, and cost projections, then use them as a basis for setting your short-term quarterly and longer-term yearly financial goals. Sales and marketing activities Figure out what sales and marketing efforts will effectively promote growth and how these efforts will change as you get bigger and better.

Make sure your sales and marketing plan is sturdy enough to support your growing business. Team needs Evaluate your existing team and think about how you can improve their capabilities to meet your growth objectives.

Business growth takes time, so be prepared to put the hard yards in. Learn the basics of demand forecasting — what it is, why you need it, and the different methods you can use to forecast demand. How to grow your business. Are you ready to grow your business? Stages of business growth.Writing a business plan is a necessary part of starting a businessyet many small business owners struggle with the process. Not only can it be time-consuming and stressful to conduct the necessary research and gather the required materials, but it can also be difficult to know exactly what format your business plan should be in and what information it should include.

To help you streamline the process, here are 14 tools you can use to get started with your business plan. This set of online tools walks you through each section of a traditional business plan in a step-by-step format.

These five business planning how-to documents will help you get your business plan started. If you prefer more of a "fill-in-the-blank" format to get your business plan started, one of these templates may be exactly what you need. Keep in mind that the best business plans are those that are updated and regularly used as a way to keep your business on track. Whichever tool you use, make it a goal to create a plan that you can use as an action document and can grow with your business over time.

Small Business Business Plans. Full Bio Follow Linkedin. Follow Twitter. Read The Balance's editorial policies. Continue Reading.This guide will show you how to get your plan done step-by-step without any of the complexity or frustration.

And, you can download this guide as a free ebook to reference while you write your business plan. There are a lot more details and instructions for each step later in this guide. The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally only one to two pages.

Most people write it last, though. Learn more. Who is your target market and competition? This section will cover your marketing and sales plan, operations, and your milestones and metrics for success. Investors look for great teams in addition to great ideas. Use the company and management chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire. If you need more space for product images or additional information, use the appendix for those details.

Or, if you just want to see what a completed business plan looks like, check out our library of over free sample business plans. The goal is to get your business plan done so you can focus on building your business. Business plans should be short and concise. The reasoning for that is twofold:. Write your plan using language that your audience will understand. When attached to a bCPAP setup, our product provides non-invasive dual pressure ventilation.

Accommodate your investors, and keep explanations of your product simple and direct, using terms that everyone can understand. You can always use the appendix of your plan to provide the full specs if needed. In fact, it can be much easier to start with a simple, one-page business plan —what we call a Lean Plan—and then come back and build a slightly longer, more detailed business plan later.

The rest of this article will dive into the specifics of what you should include in your business plan, what you should skip, the critical financial projections, and links to additional resources that can help jump-start your plan.

Structurally, it is the first chapter of your business plan. Because once you know the details of your business inside and out, you will be better prepared to write your executive summary. Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. Ideally, your executive summary will be one to two pages at most, designed to be a quick read that sparks interest and makes your investors feel eager to hear more.

At the top of the page, right under your business name, include a one-sentence overview of your business that sums up the essence of what you are doing. This can be a tagline, but is often more effective if the sentence describes what your company actually does. This is also known as your value proposition. In one or two sentences, summarize the problem you are solving in the market. Every business is solving a problem for its customers and filling a need in the market. This is your product or service.

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How are you addressing the problem you have identified in the market? Who is your target marketor your ideal customer? How many of them are there? How is your target market solving their problem today?

Are there alternatives or substitutes in the market? Provide a brief overview of your team and a short explanation of why you and your team are the right people to take your idea to market.

Investors put an enormous amount of weight on the team—even more than on the idea—because even a great idea needs great execution in order to become a reality. Highlight the key aspects of your financial plan, ideally with a chart that shows your planned sales, expenses, and profitability.Last Updated: November 13, References Approved. With over 15 years of experience in accounting, Keila specializes in advising freelancers, solopreneurs, and small businesses in reaching their financial goals through tax preparation, financial accounting, bookkeeping, small business tax, financial advisory, and personal tax planning services.

Keila spent over a decade in the government and private sector before founding Little Fish Accounting. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has 13 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewedtimes.

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A basic business plan will help guide you in thinking through the feasibility of an idea, and it is tailored to reflect your purpose for writing the plan and tailored to the audience who will be reading the plan. If you are looking to start a business, or expand an existing business, you can begin with a basic business plan that will start to sharpen your focus and get you off and running.

To write a business plan, use simple and straightforward language. Begin your plan with a company description that explains what products or services you will offer. Add sections on your marketing strategies, your key employees, and then provide an overview of your financial situation.

Be sure to include any plans for investment and your projected revenue. End your plan with an executive summary that is no more than 2 pages long and gives a synopsis of all the other information you have provided. For information about how long your plan should be and how to tailor your plan toward particular audiences, keep reading. Did this summary help you? Yes No. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker.

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reading a business plan

Edit this Article. We use cookies to make wikiHow great.Business plans have long been a critical document for new businesses. Are they still relevant? If so, what best practices and data can help you create a winning document that will help your business get the funding you need and ensure your venture lasts? Before digging into the best way to craft a business plan to help you crush it, and spending hours or numerous dollars on commissioning one, do you even need one?

A decade ago anyone you approached with a business idea without a plan would have laughed and shooed you away. Even your friends and family, or the most aggressive angel investors. Things have changed. As I describe in my book, The Art of Startup Fundraisinga business plan is still a must for some scenarios and some reasons.

Yet, some may also think that pitch decks and clever presentations may displace them.

Write a business development plan

Every entrepreneur and startup company needs a plan. Before deciding exactly what that looks like and how to create it, there are some critical questions to answer and factors to understand. Just because it is the status quo should never be a line in the vocabulary of a startup founder today.

Traditional business plans can be big beasts of a project that suck time, money and mojo at a vital moment. You should have a plan in order to get yourself organized and to ensure you have some type of viable commercial potential.

Keep it simple. In fact, Brian Chesky founder of Airbnb is famous for his one-page business plan for global domination.

10 Things I Look for When Reading a Business Plan

If you are planning to go to a local bank for a business loan, or are approaching your sphere of influence for backing who you know is accustomed to seeing legit business plans, then you know you probably need to create something that they understand in a format they are comfortable with.

Business plans and pitch decks are two different things. They have a lot of crossover factors. Yet, one is for presenting and specifically for getting funding from angels and VCs.

The other is more organizational an internal in nature.


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