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How to write a business plan
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Legal plans Browse attorney directory Legal document review Speak with an attorney. Check order status Contact us Visit our resource center. Check order status Dashboard Sign out Sign in. Johnson freelance writer. Johnson , July The Business Plan Outline A standard business plan contains several common components that apply regardless of the nature of the business.
A standard business plan contains the following: Executive summary: In one to two pages, introduce yourself, your company, and your team in a way that will entice the reader to keep reading. Describe the purpose of your plan. Highlight projected sales and profits—charts and bar graphs are helpful here—and steps to success. For a service business, what problems does it solve? Also, be sure to address how your business and team stand above the competition.
Company overview: Simply summarize who you are and what you do.
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Products and Services: What do you sell? How much does it cost? Identify the customer need that the product or service fills. Market Strategies: Analyze market needs, trends and growth. Discuss customer buying patterns and define your main competitors. Most importantly, determine and describe your target market in this section. How will you reach your target customers? How will you position your brand? Describe your general marketing plan, including traditional and social media. Milestones and Metrics: What are your one-year goals?
What are your three- to five-year goals? What milestones must the business accomplish to achieve those goals?
2. Company description
Management Team: Describe the organization of the business and identify the key management team members. Include short biographies of each team member and describe his or her company role. Financial Plan: The specifics of this section varies, but the financial section of the business plan should generally include a cash flow plan, profit and loss statement, balance sheet, sales forecast, personnel plan, business ratios such as return on investment and sales , a break-even analysis and a market forecast.
It's an exploratory process in which you can evaluate your options, test your assumptions about your idea, and even discover new opportunities. It might even lead you to kill off aspects of your business before investing too much time or money in them.
That doesn't mean you have to bust out Word and start the plan from scratch. A template is great--you probably aren't doing anything that hasn't been done before, so it provides a proven structure for your plan. Pretty much everything on it can be customized. Check out these comprehensive business plan templates you can download for free to get you started:. Score is an American nonprofit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs get their companies off the ground. Its template, available as a PDF or Word download, asks a whopping questions and is generic enough to customize for most types of businesses.
The Refining the Plan resource that comes with it is helpful, especially if this is your first crack at writing a business plan. You can go back in and edit it as needed, so don't worry about having everything ready the first time you sit down to tackle it. Even broken into sections, it's a long document and a bit of a slog to get through, but it produces a professional-looking and useful business plan.
This is particularly helpful if your idea isn't fully fleshed out and you know you have homework to do--it prompts you for information. Who said a business plan has to be a long, complicated document? Some funders are going to want to see a lot of detail, but you can provide that in appendices. This one says you just have to answer a few simple questions and will be "done before you know it!
A business plan should take time and a lot of homework, but if you've already done that, LawDepot's template is a decent choice. It walks you through getting started, marketing, product, competitive analysis, SWOT, and more, with a window below the input fields to show you the plan as you work away at it. You can download it free with a trial subscription, but you'll have to remember to cancel it within the week if you don't plan to continue using it. The SME Toolkit, jointly offered by IFC and IBM, offers a simple two-page outline of what should be included in your business plan to meet the minimum requirements of funders and tax authorities in the U.
It contains 10 broad sections, including market analysis, management and organization, etc. A second download on the same page is an Excel file to help with your financial projections.heartpurdivi.tk
Business Plan Template - Create a Free Business Plan
Of course, Microsoft offers a ton of business plan templates for Office users you can get birthday invitations while you're at it. If you'd rather do a business plan presentation than a Word doc, you can download one of Microsoft Office's half a dozen or so PowerPoint templates for just that purpose. You'll want to customize it with your company branding you have your branding down, right? Global financial services firm vFinance offers a basic, page business plan template to download from its website--one the company says has been downloaded more than a quarter of a million times.
No, it won't be completely unique, but vFinance knows what it's doing and the template is pretty comprehensive. VFinance is the creator of the massive Venture Capital Directory and has tailored the plan to appeal to funders. If that's your goal, definitely check this one out. Each one also contains a marketing plan and executive summary template. If you don't mind doing that, it's a good deal.
Kudos to Invoiceberry for figuring out this effective lead-gen tactic too! On the site, you can download each of the 15 business plan sections individually as Word documents, or grab all 15 together in one doc. There's a ton of other helpful resources as well, including guidelines for evaluating your potential sites, a list of key people to review your plan, and sample financial sheets.
Like some of the others, you fill out RocketLawyer's form and download the business plan when you're done--but its template allows you to choose your state before getting started.
The overall winner: LivePlan
These plans are tailored to meet your financing requirements in your state, which is a huge bonus for those seeking funding through banks. It's also heavily geared toward financing, making it a good choice if that's a priority for you. Editorial Disclosure: Inc.