Business Plan Outline

Business Outline PDF

Do you have an Idea for a business?  The first step towards starting a venture is to write a business plan.  You can have a personal one outlying all strategies and operations you imagined to develop idea, but your best work may need to be submitted to a bank for funding.  One step in growing a business is Fundraising.  Whether your are going to the bank, or a Firm connecting you to investors; you are going to need to part detailed information regarding your business.  The organized way to do this is a Business Plan.  I am currently working on a Business Plan to show to investors, regarding my small business.  I have been researching Business Plans and have created a broad outline of topics it should include.  In the future I may post about certain sections for criticism and guidance.  Here is a general outline of topics one should include in their business plan.

Disclaimer:  This is not a full and all inclusive resource into Business Plans. Please conduct your own further research.  Additional resources mentioned below.

Business Plans

Your goals and objectives for a business plan should keep the following information in mind.

  1. Nature of your business
  2. What do you do, how do you make money?  What is your product or service?  How do you distribute?
  3. Target market
    1. Who are you going to sell to?
    2. Demographics
    3.  Age
    4.  Interest
      1. Apple had the IPod for music consumers, the IPhone; sold to phone users, music listeners, internet surfers, etc. The IPhone successfully appealed to more consumers by combining functions.  Target markets are more professionally understood between age and demographics, interest can be studied too.
  4. Advantages/ disadvantages
    1. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, Competitor Analysis
  5. Resources and qualifications
    1. This is why the general rule is to work within an industry for 3 years before you start a business.
      1. Three years is enough to inspire from some investors, confidence; that you have sufficient knowledge and competence to excel within it
      2. Unrelated- most successful businesses were started with an entrepreneur who worked in a similar job in the past.

Parts

Cover Letter

– Here you should summarize the most attractive points in a short and concise manner.  Address the person by name.

Section I               Executive Summary

After a short description of your business, talk about your goals and objectives. Important goals that include but not limited to: Marketing goals, Goodwill goals, Sales goals, etc.

Section II             Company Background

Here describe your operations.  Discuss Risks, as well as opportunity.  Mention your financial condition (do not get too deep into financials as it has its own section, later in presentation).  Mention any insurance coverage you have or will need.

Section III            Management Team

Go over the resumes and qualifications of your high ranking individuals.  This part is important to inspire confidence from investor regarding your abilities.  If you do not have the qualifications, mention consultants and their qualifications.

Section IV            Financial Plan

You should have a few projections for your business.  You should have a best case scenario (if things start to become reasonably better than they are now), a worst case scenario and a scenario based off current trends (as it is going now).

You should have these projections for your sales, income, expenses, and funding.

I like to use a percentage of inventory sold.  This works for retail so any other type of business could use some other metric.

If I am currently selling 30% of my inventory by best case could be 40%, my worst case could be 10% (or whatever number I would need to break even), and my current trend projection will be at 30%.

Its important you keep within reason, so only use historical or industry trends, and if you are just starting out, then use a very small percentage of that.

Have Financial Records available.

Section V             Capital Required

List the amounts you need to start or sustain your business.  Also when asking for financing describe to the best of your ability how they will be used.  If you are trying to create production in house, if you need to fill inventory, be very clear and honest on what the money is being used for.

Section VI            Marketing Plan

Here you should mention industry size, trends, talk about your target markets, strengths and weaknesses.

Talk about your pricing strategies, your promotion strategies.

Section VII          Location Analysis

Talk about where your distribution centers are, where your stores are.  Analyze patterns of pedestrian and vehicle traffic around you.  Talk about strategic placement, if you have a store near a college and your target market includes college students.  Talk about how your location is not too far from needed resources, if it is in your favor.

Section VIII         Manufacturing Plan / Retail Plan

Minimum plant size, machinery needed, production capacity, Inventory storage and control methods, quality control procedures, plant personnel requirements, estimates of product cost.

If Retail mention store size, equipment needed (cash registers, mannequins), storage and head capacity, Inventory storage and control methods, Customer Service/ Returns procedures.  Personal requirements, estimates of sales, etc.

Section IX            Appendix

Bibliography of references and source materials.  Supporting documents.

Disclaimer:  Please do not consider this a full and all inclusive resource into Business Plans.  Please conduct your own further research.

I recommend the Small Business Administration website or SBA.gov as a good place for further research.

Business Plans for a business could take 3 months to make, and be more than 20 pages.

Still is arbitrary though.

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