Scientists still aren’t able to explain who built the pyramids of Egypt, or how, but one thing they do agree on is that the Egyptians who built the pyramids had a plan. Yet they didn’t have just any plan, they had a solid plan. If you hope to build something great in the New Year, a successful business perhaps, you would do well to set your own solid plan of action. The following will help you create a business plan that is solid, complete and ideal for helping you achieve all of your entrepreneurial dreams.
Free Tools for Developing Your Business Plan
If you find yourself freezing at the prospect of attempting to create a business plan, take a breath, relax and find one or more free or low cost tools to make the process much simpler. Most word processors come with business plan templates and stand-alone software will allow you to create a business plan with a few mouse clicks and a tad bit of information.
Business Plan Outline
Loan managers and others who may want to read your business plan will be looking for specific information – mission statement, projected earnings, services offered, and so forth. To create a solid plan that is thorough and easily searchable, use the following business plan outline.
Executive Summary – This is the part of your business plan that will be read the most. It consists of a summary of everything that will be described in greater detail in subsequent pages. It’s your plan’s highlight reel, its Cliffs Notes that can be easily perused in a matter of seconds.
Though the executive summary is always first, some experts recommend that you create it last in case anything changes from the time you start to create a business plan until the time you finish. Keep the summary to no more than three or four pages for brevity’s sake.
Company Overview – This provides readers with a better description of your company and its established professional and financial goals. It consists of your mission statement, business strategy and model, and a list of strategic partnerships. This part of your business plan will also include your location, the legal structure, a list of personnel and all accounting and security practices.
Business Offering – Here is where you will list your reasons for starting your businesses, as well as discuss the products and services that you will be offering to your targeted public. You will also list your manufacturing and distribution chains, as well as all inventory and fulfillment practices.
Marketing Plan and Analysis – This is the section to pay most attention to when you create your business plan, as this is where you will describe why you believe your business will be successful. It identifies the results of market research and customer trends and also covers advertising, public relations, customer service and sales information.
Strategy and Implementation – This is the part of your business plan where you will list dates and deadlines for reaching any established goals. Investors and other interested parties will also be looking for sales forecasts and other benchmarks that can be easily tracked as the business progresses.
Management Team – All interested parties will want to vet your management team members to ensure that they have esteemed backgrounds and the extensive experience required to lead all staff towards the completion of company objectives.
Financial Projections – When you create a business plan, you always have to create a financial forecast for the future. You will list all projected profits, losses, balance streets and cash flow statements for at least three years.
Collaborate, Consider and Plan
If you wish to create a solid business plan that leaves nothing to chance and that is not easily toppled by outside pressure or other forces, get together with your team, consider each part of your plan carefully and fill in each section in its entirety. Include supplemental pages if you have to, such as copies of leases or contracts, resumes of your management team members, reference letters from others who can vouch for your company and anything else that you think will help make the document whole and complete.
Once your business plan is complete and you have effectively described your business in detail, obtaining funding and helping others see your projected vision of success will become that much easier. Now all you have to do is get started. Just like the pyramids of Egypt, anything is possible if you have a solid plan of action. Starting a successful business is no different. Good luck and happy planning, future business owner.