THE BUSINESS PLAN
Preparing a business plan will help you learn more about your business, your industry and your future. Its detail will provide a plan of action and show you where your business is heading. Planning gives you a competitive edge, and enhances the management, operation, finances and long-term development of your business. If seeking funding for your business, you must have a business plan.
Your business plan is a reflection of you. It needs to be complete and presented in a professional manner. A prospective investor needs to be shown a clear plan of action detailing the operation, marketing, and financial side of your business. You only have one chance to make that first impression. You will not attract an investor unless you show them the potential for a viable and profitable business. Your plan is the proof of your business.
This article will provide you with an overview of the general components of a business plan. As each is business is different, the content and structure of your plan will vary depending on the type of business you are in. A business plan takes a great deal of thought and research to prepare. It cannot be prepared in a couple of days. The process of developing a plan is as important as the finished product.
The executive summary plays a critical role as the synopsis of the plan. Its role is to lead a prospective investor to the rest of your plan. An investor will decide whether they want to continue to read based on the content and style of this section. It has to be clear, concise, and well written. Although this section appears first, it should be written last, and be no more than two or three pages.
The introduction will outline the background of the venture, the reason for starting the business, and the purpose of the business plan. If you are seeking funding, state the amount you want and what you offer in return. Clearly state the limitations of the report such as inadequate research available in specific areas, estimates rather than real figures used, unavailability of detailed data on the competition, etc.. Discuss briefly how you went about getting your information.
Begin with the legal name of your business and the form it will take. Is it a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation? State who owns the company and its geographical location. Inform the reader of the basic details of the company such as products or services offered. If you need more than one sentence to describe your product or service or have a variety of products or services, use a sub-heading.
Describe the mission and objectives of your company stating purpose and goals. Basically, this is the statement of what your business does and why.
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