A business plan is crucial to the success of any operation. Just like anything you do in your business, you need to be perfectly clear about the purpose of the task before you start. Here are just a few of the reasons why a business plan can help you be an industry leader:
- Defines your business at the outset; helps ensure you thought of everything relevant in order to plan for future growth
- Supports financing applications
- Tests the feasibility of a new business idea
- Attracts investors, employees and managers
- Provides benchmarks and milestones to help you in running your business
Many small business owners are intimidated by the idea of writing a plan. If that’s you, consider whether or not your business has been sufficiently thought through. If you can’t easily answer the who, what, where, when and why of your business, maybe you have not sufficiently developed your idea.
Business plans need to be concrete. They need to define specific goals and outline who will be responsible for meeting them and when.
You also need to be clear about why you are writing a business plan. If the goal is to develop operations by carefully documenting the steps required to make your business successful, your plan will be very detailed. See our Strategic Planning section for more details.
If your goal is to obtain financing, the plan will be much more of an overview. The purpose of that plan is to communicate the nature of your business and show you have thought through the necessary steps to make it successful. The goal is to build sufficient confidence in your banker so he or she will lend you money. See the Financial Planning section for more details.
When you meet with us at Silver + Goren, we can help you develop a plan that has everything you need. Here is a basic outline of any business plan:
- Executive summary
- Description of the company
- Goals and objectives
- Overview of the industry
- Market analysis
- Products and services
- Marketing plans and strategies
- Financial plan
- Overview of key personnel