This business plan consists of a narrative and several financial spreadsheets. The narrative template is the body of the business plan. It contains more than 150 questions divided into several sections. Work through the sections in any order you like, except for the Executive Summary, which should be done last. Skip any questions that do not apply to your business. When you are finished writing your first draft, you will have a collection of small essays on the various topics of the business plan. Then you will want to edit them into a flowing narrative.
The real value of doing a business plan is not having the finished product in hand; rather, the value lies in the process of research and thinking about your business in a systematic way. The act of planning helps you to think things through thoroughly, to study and research when you are not sure of the facts, and to look at your ideas critically. It takes time, but avoids costly, perhaps disastrous, mistakes later.
The business plan narrative is a generic model suitable for all types of businesses. However, you should modify it to suit your particular circumstances. Before you begin, review the section titled Refining the Plan, found at the end of the business plan. It suggests emphasizing certain areas, depending upon your type of business (manufacturing, retail, service, etc.). It also has tips for fine-tuning your plan to make an effective presentation to investors or bankers. If this is why you are writing your plan, pay particular attention to your writing style. You will be judged by the quality and appearance of your work as well as your ideas.
It typically takes several weeks to complete a good plan. Most of that time is spent in research and rethinking your ideas and assumptions. But then, that is the value of the process. So make time to do the job properly. Those who do never regret the effort. And finally, be sure to keep detailed notes on your sources of information and on the assumptions underlying your financial data.
City, ST ZIP Code
I. Table of Contents
I. Table of Contents 3
II. General Company Description 4
III. Products and Services 4
IV. Marketing Plan 4
Notes on Preparation: 4
The Marketing Plan: ...
... middle of paper ...
...does the company:
o Protect intellectual property?
o Avoid technological obsolescence?
o Supply necessary capital?
o Retain key personnel?
If your company is not yet profitable or perhaps does not yet even have sales, you must do longer-term financial forecasts to show when profit take-off will occur. And your assumptions must be well documented and well argued.
• Company image
• Pricing: Explain mark-up policies. Prices should be profitable, competitive, and in accord with the company image.
o Selection and price should be consistent with company image.
o Calculate your annual inventory turnover rate. Compare this to the industry average for your type of store.
• Customer service policies: These should be competitive and in accord with the company image.
• Location: Does it give the exposure you need? Is it convenient for customers? Is it consistent with company image?
• Promotion: What methods do you use and what do they cost? Do they project a consistent company image?
• Credit: Do you extend credit to customers? If yes, do you really need to, and do you factor the cost into prices?
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