So, you’re ready to start your very first business venture. Terrific! Before you start buying inventory and hiring employees, you need to create a well thought-out business plan. What is a business plan, you say? It’s basically a roadmap or an outline for how you will structure, manage, and grow your business to success. There are so many ways to write a great business plan, but the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends you include eight key areas (nine with an appendix). Ready to get started? Super! Let’s jump on in!
The executive summary should be a brief overview of your business and your plans for success. This is where you will introduce your product or service to the world. You want this summary right up-front, but you may want to write it last after you’ve thought through all the critical details of your business. Keep it short (one or two pages at the most), and identify the problem you are solving in the market. Now that you’ve identified a problem, how does your product or service solve it? Note your ideal customer, and identify the competition in the industry. You may also include a brief overview of the key leaders and employees you plan to include in your business venture.
In this section you will want to provide specific details about what your business will do. What problems are you solving for your customers? Be as specific as you can, identifying the target consumer or market that you wish to serve. Make sure you include your registered company name, the history (if any) of your company, and more details about the product or service you are providing.
Have you done your research? If not, now is the time to start. You’ll want to provide specific details about your industry, market, and competition. As the founder, you should know everything you possibly can about your company and the industry you’re entering. What is the outlook for the industry? How does your product or service compare to similar companies already operating? What makes your competitors successful? What can you improve about the current products or services on the market? The Market Analysis should answer these questions clearly and thoroughly.
Organization & Management
How do you plan to structure your business? Who’s in charge? Are you a company of one, or will you be hiring employees? How is your business structured legally? The business can be incorporated as a C or an S corporation, formed as a general or limited partnership, or LLC. It’s important to detail whether you have or intend to follow these paths for your new company. If you plan to bring on staff, clearly lay out an organizational structure detailing their qualifications and responsibilities.
Product or Service
This is the fun part! What are you selling? What service are you providing? How will this solve a pain point for your customers? Include any copyrights or patent filings here. If you’re still developing your product or service, explain your research here. This is the whole reason you started your business! This section should literally ooze with passion for your product or service.
Sales & Marketing
How do you plan to make your company successful? Will you outsource your marketing efforts, or automate them? Do you have a sales strategy? The fun part about your marketing strategy is that it can grow and evolve as your business does. This section should simply outline your ideas for generating sales and getting your name out there. It’s not written in stone, and it should definitely be adaptable to changing marketplace.
This section should include an estimate of the amount of money you will need to jumpstart your business. Be detailed and clear about how much capital you will need over the next couple of years and what you will use it for. Debt or equity? Terms? Length of contract? All of this information should be readily available here. If these terms are unfamiliar to you, consider hiring an accountant or lawyer for this step. Finally, include your projected cash flow for the first five years of your business, or until you can maintain stable growth. And don’t forget to reach out to BizLender when you need capital to take your business to the next level! Our dedicated Small Business Funding Specialists are eager to chat with you about your business!
This is an important little section of your business plan. What does the financial outlook look like for your business over the next three to five years? This is where you’ll really want to back up your funding request with forecasted balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. Be detailed about the cash flow for the first year of your business; quarterly and monthly projections are advisable! If your business is already established, include those documents from the last couple of years. If you find it easier to use charts or graphs to explain the financial outlook for your business, include them here. A picture is worth a thousand words, right?
This little caboose is optional. If there is anything you want to include about your business that didn’t fit in any of the other sections, you may include it here. For example, you can include your resume, references, and credit history here. You can even add illustrations of your product or service, or define key terms that may be unfamiliar to your audience.
See how easy that was? Now you’re ready to get started with your brand new business and become the millionaire entrepreneur that you were born to be! When you’re ready to take your business to the next level, check out BizLender online or call 855-433-8641. BizLender has been offering lending solutions since 2013, and emphasizes working smarter, not harder, by using technology to fund small businesses in as little as 24 hours.
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