Business Plan

Why Write a Business Plan?

To evaluate the feasibility of your business idea in an objective, critical and unemotional way.

  • Marketing: Research the market and estimate demand
  • Management: Your capabilities and your “team”
  • Financial: Forecast costs and sales
To provide an operating plan to assist yourself in running the business and improve your probability of success.
  • Identify opportunities and avoid mistakes
  • Develop production, administrative and marketing plans
  • Set budgeting guidelines
To communicate your idea to others and provide the basis for your financing proposal.
  • Forecast profitability
  • Analyze and forecast cash flow
  • Determine the amount and type of financing needed

The following is an outline of a typical business plan, which can serve as a guide to your personalized business plan.

Cover Sheet

  • Business Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Owners
Executive Summary
  • Statement of purpose
Introduction
  • Give a detailed description of the business and its goals
  • Discuss ownership of the business and its legal structure
  • List skills and knowledge you bring to the business
  • Discuss advantages you and your business have over competitors

Marketing

  • Discuss products and services your company will offer
  • Identify customer demand for your products and services
  • Identify your market, its size, and locations
  • Explain how your products and services will be advertised and marketed
  • Explain your pricing strategy

Financial Management

  • Develop 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 compensation
  • Discuss who will maintain your accounting records and how they will be kept
  • Provide “what if” statements addressing alternative approaches to potential problems

Operations

  • Explain how the business will be managed day-to-day
  • Discuss hiring and personnel procedures
  • Discuss insurance, lease or rent agreements, and issues pertinent to your business
  • Account for the equipment necessary to produce your goods and services
  • Account for production and delivery of products and services

Concluding Statement

  • Summarize your business goals and objectives and express your commitment to the success of your business. Once you have completed your business plan, review it with a friend or business associate and professional business counselor such as SCORE or SBCD representatives, SBA district office business development specialist, or veterans’ business development specialists
  • Remember, the business plan is a flexible document that should change as your business grows

Three Additional Resources:

  1. www.bplans.com
  2. www.web.sba.gove/busplantemplate/BizPlanStart.cfm
  3. Writing a Business Plan

(Source: U.S. Small Business Administration & Georgia Small Business Development Center)