Your Business Plan

adjWorkDesk_mPlanning is an essential part of an entrepreneur’s life. Your business plan serves as a guide going forward. The best plans are not rigid documents cast in stone. The best plans have some flexibility built in. After all, how often does anything run 100% according to plan?

That’s not to say a business plan is made up of a bunch of guesses and wishes. To be worth the time and effort devoted to researching and writing the business plan, it must be based upon solid facts and figures. It must also be prepared with your full involvement because you¬†are the one with the vision. You are the one who is the most invested in the success of this venture.

A typical business plan will include the following information:

Executive SummaryTop-level summary of the entire plan.
Company DescriptionEverything you need to know about the company itself.
Target Market Clear discussion of the customer you are trying to reach.
CompetitionCompanies who are also vying for those customers.
Marketing PlanHow you are going to attract those customers.
Sales PlanHow you will seal the deal.
OperationsThe day-in/day-out functioning of your business.
Management Who's running the show?
Long-Term GoalsWhere you're heading.
MilestonesHow you'll know you're on track.
Financial StatementsProfit & Loss, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow, Budgets.

Rather than view the business plan as a stress test, try looking at it as an opportunity to get everything out of your head and down on paper. Once it’s there, you can take a closer look, tweak what will work, discard what won’t, and walk away with an informed overview of your proposed business’ potential. Also remember that you need to be intimately familiar with the assumptions underlying your business plan. In the same way you know where the squeaky step is in your home, you need to know which is the lynchpin in your planning. Why? If you begin to miss your targets around that goal or assumption, you must know that it’s time to act. That sort of familiarity only comes as a result of crawling around in your assumptions and numbers!


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