Business Plan Outline
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.
- Business Name
- Phone Number
- Statement of purpose
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
(Source: U.S. Small Business Administration & Georgia Small Business Development Center)