How to Write a Business Plan
A business plan generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues. Creating a business plan will help you achieve your entrepreneurial goals. A clear and compelling business plan provides you with a guide for building a successful enterprise focused on achieving your personal and financial goals. It can also help persuade others, including banks, to invest in what you are creating. Think of it as the road map to your business's future.
A finance provider will review any business plan submitted; it is essential that your plan relates to your business and you do not rely on a generic document.
Company Description Products and Services Marketing Plan Operational Plan Management & Organization Startup Expenses & Capitalization Financial Plan Appendices
Analyze the potential markets for your business
Who are your customers ?
Is there a viable market for the product or service you want to sell?
How old are your potential customers? What do they do for a living? Is your product or service attractive to a particular ethnic or economic population? Will only wealthy people be able to afford it? Does your ideal customer live in a certain type of neighborhood or area?
Establish the size of your potential market
Identify your company’s initial needs.
Prepare product samples
Research possible locations for your business
Determine your start-up cost
Put yourself in the shoes of potential investors
Identify potential investors
DEFINE YOUR COMPANY
Identify potential investors
Choose a winning strategy
Design your company
issues of running a business
WRITE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
Organize all the relevant information about your business
Title Page and Table of Contents
Write the executive summary last
Gather all the information together and prepare multiple drafts
Sell yourself and your business
Present and explain your financial data
Ideas to Improve Your Financial Health
Create a safety net. Plan to have a minimum savings balance to cover at least three months' of expenses (ideally, this should be six to 12 months). If your reserves are light, start saving now. Even if it is a little amount, it can get you on the right track.
Develop a budget. At least once a year develop a basic budget. Set goals and try to hit them. If this seems overwhelming, start simple. What is coming in and what goes out each month? Becoming aware is the first step to improving your financial health.
Make your spouse a financial partner. If you die, does your significant other know where everything is? Can he/she pay the bills? Does he know where account numbers are? Does your spouse know who you use to help with things? If not, it is time to start talking.
Review your beneficiaries. Once a year review beneficiaries on all accounts. This includes retirement accounts as well as names on wills and estate plans. The legal hassle created without this review can be devastating to your surviving family. This is especially important if you had a recent life event (marriage, divorce, birth or death).
Maximize your benefits. Make sure you review your retirement plans to maximize any employer match in your account. Also review your plan's administrative expenses. If they are too high they can cost you thousands of dollars over your lifetime.
Review your insurance plans. Periodically look at your health, life, home and liability insurance. With the legal nature of our society, you might consider the need for an umbrella policy to cover against potential litigation. But also consider flood insurance and a replacement value homeowner's policy.
Manage your debt. Review your use of credit cards, loans, etc. Understand your net worth (assets minus liabilities). Make progress in reducing your debt load starting with the highest interest obligations first. Is your debt lower than it was last year?
Plan for fun. Just because you are taking steps to improve your financial situation doesn't mean that you can't have fun. Be smart about your entertainment spending. If you are planning a vacation, research money-conscience options and have a budget that fits in with your other financial goals.