Business Plan?? What’s that for?

All Businesses Require a Plan

There is an old saying that if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. So any business, home based, brick and mortar, lemonade on the corner or any other form you can imagine requires a plan. A plan will tell you how much you have to spend to make money and will make sure you don't forget details.

I've “borrowed” a simple guide from the SBA

Guide For Writing a Business Plan

What goes into a business plan?

There is no single formula for developing a business plan, but some elements are consistent throughout all business plans. Your plan should include an executive summary, a description of the business, a plan for how you will market and manage your business, financial projections and the appropriate supporting documents.

To help you get started in writing your business plan, we have summarized the essential elements in the following outline.

Elements of a Business Plan

  1. Cover sheet
  2. Executive summary (statement of the business purpose)
  3. Table of contents
  4. Body of the document
    1. Business
      1. Description of business
      2. Marketing
      3. Competition
      4. Operating procedures
      5. Personnel
      6. Business insurance
    2. Financial data
      1. Loan applications
      2. Capital equipment and supply list
      3. Balance sheet
      4. Breakeven analysis
      5. Profit and loss statements
      6. Three-year summary
      7. Detail by month, first year
      8. Detail by quarters, second and third year
      9. Assumptions upon which projections were based
      10. Pro-forma cash flow
    3. Supporting documents
      1. Tax returns of principals (partners in the business) for last three years, personal financial statements (all banks have these forms)
      2. Copy of franchise contract and all supporting documents provided by the franchisor (for franchise businesses)
      3. Copy of proposed lease or purchase agreement for building space
      4. Copy of licenses and other legal documents
      5. Copy of resumes of all principals
      6. Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc.

Not all of these elements are necessary, but see how many you can do to put together your package. And remember this, it is not about financing, it is about you being an entrepreneur and knowing your business.