Thursday, October 4, 2012

Developing a Business Plan is Key to Starting a Business

The first thing you need to do after deciding which type of business you want to start is to write a business plan. Starting a business takes planning, and the better your business plan the more chance you have of success. A business plan is an ever changing blueprint for your business. It needs to change as your business evolves and will help your employees, potential investors, lenders, and partners understand your business strategy. As your business changes and grows, so will your business plan. But before you reach that level, you need to have a plan in place for starting a business.

Define Your Business

A plan for starting a business can help you define your business; what are you offering, what services or products are you offering, plan your marketing strategy, and set sales goals. You must also define your cash flow expectations. This will help keep you on track and recognize if you are reaching your goals. It is essential to define your business in your plan when starting a business so that potential investors can see exactly what they may be getting into. Many investors will quiz you and look for holes in your planning before signing over a check to you for your business. Lenders will want to see what collateral or assets you have to back up a loan. You need to include enough information so that banks will have all the information they need to offer you a loan. Not only will a business plan define your business, but it can be a benchmark for all involved to measure how your business is doing.

Writing the Actual Plan for Starting a Business

You can hire someone to write your business plan, or invest in software that will help you do it. But it is best if you can sit down yourself and write one out. This will show investors you are completely vested and involved in your business. A good plan should be no more than 30 to 40 pages long, in outline form, and in an easy to read font. Your charts and appendices for monthly projections should be placed at the end in "landscape" layout. You should also have a coversheet with your business name on it, the address, and the principles of the business. Sections to include for starting a business are as follows:

Executive Summary

Company Overview

Business Offering

Marketing Plan and Analysis

Strategy Implementation

Management Team

Financial Projections

Your business plan for starting a business is not just for outside investment sources or lenders. Use it internally to help keep everyone on the same page. Review it periodically and revise it as needed. Starting a business takes planning and a solid, well thought out business plan is an essential step in your success.

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