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What exactly is a business plan and why do I need one?


A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals and serves as your firm's resume. Its basic components include a current and pro forma balance sheet, an income statement and a cash flow analysis. It helps you allocate resources properly, handle unforeseen complications, and make the right decisions. Because it provides specific and organized information about your company and how you will repay borrowed money, a good business plan is a crucial part of any loan package. Additionally, it can tell your sales personnel, suppliers and others about your operations and goals. Use the outline below to develop your business plan.

Building Your Business Plan

The following outline of a typical business plan can serve as a guide. You can adapt it to your specific business.

Breaking down the plan into several components helps make drafting it a more manageable task.
  • Introduction
  • Give a detailed description of the business and its goals.
  • Discuss the ownership of the business and the legal structure
  • List the skills and experience you bring to the business.
  • Discuss the advantages you and your business have over your competitors.
In-depth help on developing a sound business plan can be found on the SBA Web site in the Starting Area.
  • Marketing
  • Discuss the products/services offered.
  • Identify the customer demand for your product/service.
  • Identify your market, its size and locations.
  • Explain how your product/service will be advertised and marketed.
  • Explain the pricing strategy.
  • Financial Management
  • Explain your source and the amount of initial equity capital.
  • Develop a monthly operating budget for the first year.
  • Develop an expected return on investment and monthly cash flow for the first year.
  • Provide projected income statements and balance sheets for a twoÐyear period.
  • Discuss your break-even point.
  • Explain your personal balance sheet and method of
  • Discuss who will maintain your accounting records and how they will be kept.
  • Provide "what if" statements that address alternative approaches to any problem that may develop.
  • Operations
  • Explain your source and the amount of initial equity capital.
  • Develop a monthly operating budget for the first year.
  • Develop an expected return on investment and monthly cash flow for the first year.
  • Provide projected income statements and balance sheets for a two-year period.
  • Discuss your break-even point.
  • Explain your personal balance sheet and method of
  • Discuss who will maintain your accounting records and how they will be kept.
  • Provide "what if" statements that address alternative approaches to any problem that may develop.
 
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