Basic Components of a Business Plan

Written by startupbusinesses  |  20. October 2000

When you are writing the first draft of your business plan, compose several pages of your ideas. Then organize these ideas into a few simple pages comprising your "first draft". Even though you are starting simple, you are creating the road map that eventually develop into a more complete, clearer "road map" of your new journey. The most important primary components of your "first draft" should include a description of your business, define your work space, your marketing ideas, and how you are going to be spending your money. There are components that are common to most typical business plans: 1. Cover page -- business name, address, telephone, fax, email and web site address. 2. Summary -- short version of what your business is all about. 3. TOC (Table of Contents) -- list the items that you plan to include in your business plan. 4. Mission Statement -- why are you creating this business and what will it do for your customers. 5. Business Description -- specifically defines what your business products or services will be; what your legal structure is (sole partnership, corporation, etc.); Write this section from your customer's perspective ... what is in this description that will make them want to come to you! 6. Operational Requirements -- equipment, legal structure, hours of operation, working facilities, etc. 7. Your qualifications and skills -- what makes you qualified to run this business: education, training, experience, certifications, etc. 8. Competition -- list your competition and their strengths and weaknesses then detail how you are going to compete with them. What is going to make you stand out? 9. Revenue definition -- describes exactly what you are going to sell (service or product), what the features of the service or product are, and how you are going to handle supply and demand (sales and delivery, quality control, customer service, etc.). 10. Advertising and Marketing -- profiles your customers. Define what the customers will want and not want, their realistic expectations. Describe your sales strategy, include your pricing concepts, define your target market and how to measure your success or failure. 11. Financial Information -- include start-up costs, a cash flow statement, a balance sheet, and a profit and loss statement. You will also need to compose a "break even analysis" which defines how much you need to sell to cover all your costs without making or losing any money. Creating this analysis will help you put your ideas in perspective, you may find that you need to increase prices, offer fewer products, or add services. 12. Related information -- attached supporting documentation such as market research, articles, estimares, competitors information, etc. The business plan lays the foundation of your new business, it provides a solid starting place. Do not neglect this phase, if any job is worth doing, it is worth doing right ... and writing the business plan is definitely a job worth doing. If you want to put together a preliminary business plan and forward it to me for some ideas, then please do so. Good Luck. More articles to follow.

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