Making a business plan is one of the most important steps you will take in setting up your business. It is important to have a plan in place so you can easily identify your mission, goals, marketing strategy and assess the financial health of your new business.
Why make a business plan?
Your business plan is your guide to running your business successfully. It helps you to think through important aspects of running a business such as marketing, profits, protecting assets and your mission. Furthermore, if you believe you may need funding for your business, financial institutions often ask for a copy of your business plan as part of your application.
What should be included in a business plan?
A complete business plan should include sections regarding marketing, profits and losses, debts, financial forecasts and an executive summary. There should be detailed sections on operations and management of the business that discuss who will run the day to day operations of the business, how business partners will make certain major decisions and how profits will be distributed among owners. A good plan should also address employee needs and how employees will be managed. Include a detailed description of the products or services your business will offer, how products will be produced, who will provide the services and the key markets for your business. Finally, evaluate the competitors in your market and discuss how you can differentiate your business.
How long should my business plan be?
It depends on how in depth you decide to be in planning. If you are planning to use your business plan to obtain funding, a short, comprehensive plan that is appealing to the reader is always better than a 20 page plan overloaded with unnecessary information. Make sure your plan contains the major categories, is concise and visually appealing. You should also prepare an appendix of legal documents, business permits, lease agreements, and other important confidential documents that are provided upon request only.
How can I get started on creating a business plan?
The Small Business Administration provides great templates and information on creating a business plan. For more information or templates visit the SBA website. You can also click here to receive a one page business plan template to get you started or contact Charlotte Key for more information.
Charlotte Key is an attorney that focuses on business law, estate planning and probate law.