Saturday, July 19, 2008

Use This Simple Business Plan To Obtain Your Best Results

Business Plan Pro

For all Budding Entrepreneurs - You know you must have a simple business plan to give you motivation, direction and strategy. I maintain that without a written plan there is no hope of doing your best work. Research backs up the fact that those with a current written plan are 15% more successful than those who are not.

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Simple Business Plan Basics

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The best way to show bankers, venture capitalists, and angel
investors that you are worthy of financial support is to show
them a great business plan. Make sure that your plan is clear,
focused and realistic. Then show them that you have the tools,
talent and team to make it happen. Your business plan is like
your calling card, it will get you in the door where you'll have
to convince investors and loan officers that you can put your
plan into action.


Once you have raised the money to start or expand your business,
your plan will serve as a road map for your business. It is not
a static document that you write once and put away. You will
reference it often, making sure you stay focused and on track,
and meet milestones. It will change and develop as your business
evolves.


Do I need a business plan? Or Should that be - How will I survive without a Simple Business Plan?




Not everyone who starts and runs a business begins with a
business plan, but it certainly helps to have one. If you are
seeking funding from a venture capitalist, you will certainly
need a comprehensive business plan that is well thought out and
contains sound business reasoning.


If you are approaching a banker for a loan for a start-up
business, your loan officer may suggest a Small Business
Administration (SBA) loan, which will require a business plan. If
you have an existing business and are approaching a bank for
capital to expand the business, they often will not require a
business plan, but they may look more favorably on your
application if you have one.


Reasons for writing a business plan include:


  • Support a loan application

  • Raise equity funding

  • Define and fix objectives and programs to achieve those
    objectives

  • Create regular business review and course correction

  • Define a new business

  • Define agreements between partners

  • Set a value on a business for sale or legal purposes

  • Evaluate a new product line, promotion, or expansion





What's in a business plan?



A simple business plan should prove that your business will generate
enough revenue to cover your expenses and make a satisfactory
return for bankers or investors.



  1. Executive Summary--features the highlights of your plan and
    sells your idea in two pages or less.

  2. Company Summary--a factual description of your company,
    ownership, and history.

  3. Products (or Services or both)--describes your products
    and/or services and how they stand out from competitive products
    and services.

  4. Market Analysis-provides a summary of your typical customers,
    competitive landscape, market size, and expected market
    growth.

  5. Strategy and Implementation-describes how you will sell your
    product, how you will put your plan into action, and establishes
    milestones.

  6. Management Summary-provides background on the management
    team, their experiences, and key accomplishments.

  7. Financial Plan-contains key financials including sales, cash
    flow, and profits.





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What makes a successful business plan?

  • A well thought out idea

  • Clear and concise writing

  • A clear and logical structure

  • Illustrates management's ability to make the business a
    success

  • Shows profitability



Business Plan Resources Go Here

How do you write a business plan?



Sitting down looking at a blank computer screen as you prepare to
start your business plan can be daunting. You may want to look
at some alternatives that will make the process a bit easier.


Hire a Professional

A professional consultant will create the business plan for you,
but you still have to be prepared to think through your business
and understand the underlying concepts in your business idea.
You will have to work closely with the consultant to ensure that
he or she develops a good plan that accurately represents your
business or business idea. You can find a list of business
planning consultants at www.planconsultants.com.


Buy a Book

There are many good books on the market that will help you to
understand what needs to go into a good business plan. You can
read Timothy Berry's "Hurdle: the Book on Business Planning".


Use Business Planning Software

A good business planning software package will provide you with
an outline for a well-developed, objective-based and professional
business plan. Software packages will remove the problem of
starting from scratch by structuring your plan for you. The
software should ask you the right questions that will pull out
the most important underlying concepts within your business idea.
Find out more about the leading software package on the market, Business Plan Pro.

Now writing a simple business plan for your organization becomes easier and affordable. Check out this great resource today.


Simple Business planning resources



Business Plan Pro

2 comments:

Rachel said...

Interesting post. I want to run a business soon, so I'll keep this post in mind. Becoming, what I hope, an entrepreneur is somewhat new to me, so I can use all the help and advice I can get! I know it'll be tough. Lately I've been thinking about the idea of buying a business instead of starting from scratch. I'm not sure what I should go for. Franchise? Home-based? I don't know. Do you have any suggestions or advice? Thanks!

Gail Robertson said...

Rachel –
You're right. It will be tough running your own business, but if you stick through it, it can be extremely rewarding. If you really do want to be an entrepreneur and buy a business, then I suggest searching the Internet to what is available in your area. There are sites, like BizTrader.com, which are online global marketplaces where you can buy and sell businesses. They can also provide you with additional resources like finding a lender, broker, etc. I also suggest checking out current books and magazines for help and advice. Local small business groups can also be very helpful, and it doesn't hurt to network. Good luck!