What is a business plan?
Often, entrepreneurs create a business plan because they need to go to their bank. While it is certainly a reason, it not the BEST reason to have one. With a really great business plan, you may not even need to go to a bank, outside lending institution, or to raise outside capital. Going outside your company to raise money may require you to give up part of your business, and your creative license. A really great business plan may show you how you can self-fund your own business, and keep 100% of the ownership and the profits for yourself!
What MUST every business plan include?
First you need to be very clear who you are preparing your business plan for. Is it a bank, outside investors, or is it for your own use? Then, you must be precise about exactly what business you are in. You should have very specific goals about what you will achieve in terms of sales, revenues, profit, number of employees, when they come on board, where you are located. We’ve identified 11 areas that must be included, step-by-step and in detail in every business plan:
1. Executive Summary
2. Investment Opportunity
3. Company/Product Analysis
4. Industry Analysis
5. Market Analysis
6. Marketing Plan
7. Development Plan
8. Manufacturing/Operations Plan
9. Management Team
10. Financial Plan
You also want to make sure you have your target market identified. You must detail of the different marketing strategies you will use to attract customers, hopw you are going to produce and deliver your products and services.
Why established businesses need business plans
There is a common misconception that only new or startup businesses need a business plan. There isn’t anything that is further from the truth! We have worked with Joni Inman of Joni Inman Consulting who has done a fantastic job in developing business and marketing plans for established companies, as well as startups. She’s a great resource for any business that is looking to create a plan, or to take their plan to the highest level.
A well designed business plan is a great investment
We encourage you to create a complete, detailed business plan. If you’d like to do it on your own, we have a guide to building a business plan in our FREE LoomView Business Owners Tool Kit, or you can get any one of the many excellent books or use software on business plans. Those who have made the investment in hiring a top notch business plan specialist to create their business plan, have gotten back many times their investment. The Return on Investment (ROI) of a well-crafted business is well worth the investment of time and your dollars.
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